The US and Italy plan to increase their financial contributions to help developing countries fight climate change, officials told the Financial Times on the eve of G20 environment ministers in Naples.
Rome, which hosts the G20, and Washington are trying to bridge a growing gap between rich and poor countries over climate finance, an issue that threatens to derail the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.
US climate envoy John Kerry and Italian energy transition minister Roberto Cingolani told the FT in separate interviews that they wanted to increase their climate donations ahead of the COP summit.
“It is imperative that we do something” [on climate finance]’ said Kerry. “I said that to the president” [Joe] Biden, he’s fully on board.”
Cingolani said Italy would also increase its contributions and this was an important part of its climate policy.
Thursday’s meeting of G20 environment ministers, usually a quiet affair, is seen this year as an important leading indicator of potential outcomes and controversies ahead of climate change talks this autumn.
The G20 includes some countries that have set ambitious climate targets, such as the EU, and others that have resisted setting emissions targets, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and Australia, making it difficult to reach an agreement.
Rich countries missed a target last year to give $100 billion to help developing countries fight climate change, and missing that promise has sparked significant fear among developing countries, who need funding to reduce emissions and adapt. adapt to a warmer planet.
“We need a lot more effort,” Cingolani said. “We need to reopen the discussion because not everyone agrees on increasing support.”
Cingolani said he hoped countries could reconcile their differences to agree on climate action in a final communiqué. “We will work until the very last minute to reach a unanimous communiqué,” he said.
He said a successful meeting would lead to “two reasonable communiqués” that all countries agree on to further discuss the goal of limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period and support for emerging countries to “join the COP26 meeting later”. this year with a good foundation”.
The Italian summit will be the first face-to-face meeting of environmental ministers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Italy hopes the talks will open up the opportunity for accelerated progress at COP26.
Kerry told the FT: “It will be a bit of a tell-tale for the dynamics now as we go to the UN General Assembly. [in September].”
Kerry added that he hoped the G20 countries would step up commitments to cut emissions.
Italy and the US both warned they would need approval from parliament and Congress, respectively, to get permission to increase climate finance.
Kerry said Biden was “trying to figure out” how to increase contributions to climate finance. “He needs to make sure that happens within the context of our budget process and Congress and so on. But that debate and discussion is currently in full swing.”