G-20 Climate Talks Stall Ahead of Rome Leaders’ Summit

By Alessandro Speciale, Chiara Albanese
and Alberto Nardelli

The world’s major economies are gridlocked in their efforts to agree concrete steps to tackle climate change just two weeks before a crucial summit in Rome, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Preparatory talks between G-20 officials this week failed to end in an agreement to reduce coal subsidies and curb methane emissions. There wasn’t even a consensus on striving toward net-zero emissions and limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels, the people said, asking not to be named discussing confidential deliberations.

The G-20 summit will take place immediately before crunch climate change talks, known as COP26, where leaders hope to unveil a big-sounding agreement. Earlier this week, COP26 President Alok Sharma, said the Rome summit would be a “make or break” moment for ensuring the world avoids climate catastrophe.

Negotiators, who are tasked with preparing the final communique of the G-20 summit on Oct. 30-31, even walked back some conclusions agreed by energy and environment ministers before the summer during this week’s talks. One person described the negotiating round as a disaster. 

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