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G20 ministers fail to reach agreement on key climate issues

Children in India play in the backdrop of a factory.
Children in India play in the backdrop of a factory. Copyright Altaf Qadri/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Altaf Qadri/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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The world's environmental and climate ministers agreed on most points, but could not reach a consensus on issues such as fossil fuels, emissions and carbon taxes.


The final meeting of climate and environment ministers from the world's largest economies ended without an agreement or joint statement on Friday despite pleas from leading figures for nations to show a united front on climate change as weather records shatter across the globe.

At a gathering in Chennai in India, ministers from the Group of 20 countries — who emit around 80% of the world's planet-warming gases — failed to agree on four of 68 points of discussion.

A document published by the group shows countries did not agree on aiming to peak emissions by 2025, moving to clean energy or a tax on carbon as a way to reduce emissions.

France's ecological transition minister Christophe Bechu said he was "very disappointed": 

"We are not able to reach an agreement of increasing drastically renewable energy, we are not able to reach an agreement on phasing out or down fossil fuels, especially coal, and it's just very odd to see what happens outside this hotel, this G20, in the real world and to see the difficulties to find just the diplomatic wording on these environmental issues."

Others say the glass is half full: 

“We couldn't get a consensus but we agreed on a lot,” said Canada’s climate minister Steven Guilbeault at a virtual press conference after the meeting.

The ministers' decisions will now be passed on to country leaders ahead of a summit in New Delhi in September this year. It will be the group's last chance to issue a joint statement on climate this year.

India vulnerable to climate consequences

The world has currently warmed around 1.2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times and effects are already being felt all over the world, with hosts India especially vulnerable.

Earlier this year, more than 100 people died during a heat wave in the centre of the country and last week at least 27 people died in western India due to landslides triggered by heavy rains.

Since India took over the G-20 presidency last December, none of the meetings that deal with various policy areas like foreign affairs, finance, energy and climate change have come out with a joint communique but their announcements may form part of a final document released at the leaders' summit in September.

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