by Vincent Diringer
Ahead of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, the leaders of the twenty largest world economies met in Rome for the G20 international forum between 30 to 31 October 2021. The key issues discussed included COVID-19, the global economy, and climate change.
The two-day event started on a high note, with the G20 deciding to implement a minimum tax rate for major corporations in a bid to reduce tax evasion and the use of tax havens. Set at 15%, the tax rate should come into force in 2023, and will affect multinational entities in 90% of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) countries [1-3].
In addition to this, leaders committed to improving vaccine roll-outs and global vaccination rates by providing assistance to developing countries . The conclusion of the forum saw the signing of the G20 Leaders Declaration, which saw the leaders commit to advancing global vaccination to at least 40% of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and 70% by mid-2022 .
Climate change commitments
However, the elephant in the room was the upcoming climate talks in Scotland. Following an already difficult pre-COP26 meeting in Milan that highlighted the mistrust between developed and developing nations over climate financing, many looked to the G20 for a show of global strength and unity ahead of the in-depth climate negotiations.
Results were mixed. A draft communique and the G20 Leaders Declaration indicate that the G20 leaders intend to support a ramping up of efforts to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – this despite current policy analysis showing that we are well off-track [3, 4]. While most of the G20 was present in person, Chinese President Xi Jingping and Russian President Vladimir Putin attended virtually, and were amongst a triumvirate that included India that resisted committing to new, more ambitious climate goals .
The communique also discussed increasing funding to reduce the need for and investment in coal-fired power plants, as well as stopping all construction coal plants by 2030 .
Furthermore, the Declaration states an increase in efforts to phase out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption” . In addition, the leaders acknowledge the developing countries who have increased their contribution to international public climate finance and also the need for greater ambition in relation to finance to meet the $100 billion commitment .
In the end, the G20 did not stray far from the Day 1 happenings. The only development on Day 2 was the lack of commitment by world leaders to set a hard date for net-zero goals, settling for “by and around mid-century” . This was bolstered by support for the aforementioned climate financing measures as well as putting a price on carbon . However, it should be noted that no mechanisms were discussed publicly for either issue, which have both been major challenges for several years.
All eyes now fall on Glasgow, as COP26 officially gets underway. Will world leaders find common ground? Can solutions be found for key sticking points? What day-by-day developments are happening? Find out more with ClimaTalk’s continuous coverage throughout both weeks of the summit.
Featured image courtesy of the G20 Italia Official Website. Available at www.g20.org.
 Agence France-Presse, 2021, “G20: what did world leaders agree at the summit in Rome?”, The Guardian, URL: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/nov/01/g20-what-did-world-leaders-agree-at-the-summit-in-rome [Accessed November 1, 2021]
 G20 Rome Leaders Declaration, 2021, URL: https://www.g20.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/G20-ROME-LEADERS-DECLARATION.pdf [Accessed November 1, 2021
 Crispian Balmer & Andrea Shalal, 2021, “G20 leaders endorse tax deal, pledge more vaccines for the poor”, Thompson-Reuters, URL: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/uks-johnson-warns-climate-recalls-fall-roman-empire-ahead-g20-summit-2021-10-30/ [Accessed October 30, 2021]
 Climate Action Tracker, 2021, “Temperatures”, URL: https://climateactiontracker.org/global/temperatures/ [Accessed November 1, 2021]