- The G20 heads of state and government are meeting in person after the COVID-19 pandemic
- Chinese and Russian presidents participate via video link
- Historic minimum tax agreement for large companies confirmed
- Executives are struggling to face climate change
ROME, Oct. 30 (Reuters) – The leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies on Saturday approved a global minimum tax aimed at preventing large corporations from hiding profits in tax havens, and also agreed to more COVID – Deliver vaccines to poorer countries.
At their first face-to-face summit in two years, the G20 leaders broadly backed calls to extend debt relief for impoverished countries and pledged to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population against COVID-19 by mid-2022.
However, with a crucial UN climate change conference about to begin in just two days, the G20 seemed to have a hard time throwing their weight behind the kind of powerful new measures that scientists say are needed to avert catastrophic global warming .
Italy, which is hosting the meeting in Rome, has placed health and economics high on the agenda for the first day of the meeting, with the more difficult climate debates scheduled for Sunday.
To underscore how the coronavirus crisis has turned the world upside down, white-coat doctors and Red Cross workers joined the leaders for their traditional “family photo” – a tribute to the sacrifices and efforts of medical professionals around the world World.
Opening the meeting, held in a steel and glass conference center, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said governments must work together to address the daunting challenges facing their peoples.
“From the pandemic to climate change to just and equitable taxation, going it alone is just not an option,” Draghi said.
The corporation tax deal was hailed as evidence of renewed multilateral coordination, with large corporations having to pay a tax of at least 15% wherever they operate from 2023 to avoid shielding their profits in offshore companies.
“This is more than just a tax treaty – it is diplomacy that is reshaping our global economy and doing something good for our people,” wrote US President Joe Biden on Twitter.
In a world troubled by rising energy prices and stretched supply chains, Biden was expected to urge G20 energy producers with spare capacity to ramp up production, particularly Russia and Saudi Arabia, to ensure a stronger global economic recovery, a senior US official said -Government. Continue reading
Like many of the other G20 leaders in Italy, Biden will fly straight to Glasgow on Sunday for the United Nations climate change summit known as COP26, which is seen as critical to addressing the threat of rising temperatures. Continue reading
The G20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, causes an estimated 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but hopes that the Rome meeting could pave the way for success in Scotland has worsened significantly .
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin both decided to video-link events only, and diplomats eager to seal a meaningful deal said both countries, as well as India, are resisting ambitious new climate targets.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted that G20 and COP26 talks would be difficult, but warned that without bold action, world civilization could collapse as quickly as the ancient Roman Empire and usher in a new dark age.
“It will be very, very difficult to get the deal we need,” he told reporters, standing next to the ruins of the Colosseum amphitheater – a symbol of once mighty Rome.
A draft communiqué seen by Reuters says the G20 will step up efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – the level scientists believe is necessary to avoid catastrophic new climate patterns. Continue reading
The document also recognizes the need to strengthen current national plans to curb harmful emissions, but gives few details on how this should be done.
In addition, the heads of state and government will undertake to stop financing coal-fired power generation abroad by the end of this year and “do our best” to stop building new coal-fired power plants before the end of the 2030s.
Apparently, after months of relative isolation, the leaders were enjoying personal diplomacy and holding numerous meetings on the sidelines, including talks between the United States, Britain, Germany and France on Iran’s nuclear program.
“It’s great to see you all here after some difficult years for the global community,” said Draghi, noting the largely optimistic mood among those present.
Far from the “The Cloud” conference center, several thousand demonstrators demonstrated loudly but peacefully in the city center to call for measures to curb climate change.
“We consider this protest for environmental and social issues and against the G20, which relentlessly continues on a path that has almost led us to social and ecological failure,” said protester Edoardo Mentrasti.
Additional reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Gavin Jones, Angelo Amante, Elizabeth Piper, Michel Rose and Jeff Mason Writing by Crispian Balmer Editing by David Gregorio, Helen Popper and Frances Kerry
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