Report from the 2021 G20 Summit
Maryam and Nivaal Rehman
All eyes were on world leaders over these past two days as they gathered in Rome, Italy for the G20 Leaders Summit. As an officially accredited member of the media personnel at the G20 summit, we at The World With MNR were focused mainly on how world leaders are hoping to tackle issues like Climate Change, which, with COP26 happening right now as well, is a crucial topic.
The irony that many people have pointed out, is the vast amount of fuel used by leaders to gather in Rome for the summit itself, while they speak about addressing the Climate Crisis. Here's what the Guardian's Political Correspondent Peter Walker had to say:
Other world leaders like Joe Biden, also had extensive motorcades accompanying them to the G20 summit, as well as COP26 happening throughout this week.
Taking tangible environmental actions requires government leaders understanding and the negative environmental impacts of their own actions as well, which include using private planes and taking extensive delegations along with them at international conferences meant to tackle the issue of climate change.
Climate Change is something that leaders focused on during the second day of the summit in particular, and their commitments included giving a symbolic message pledging to "pursue efforts" which kept the global average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celcius by the end of this century.
As global temperatures continue to rise, an average temperature rise of 1.5 degrees is viewed as a critical threshold which will limit the severest impacts of climate change, including increased natural disasters such as hurricanes, forest fires and droughts. What was missing from this commitment was the specific steps that countries would be taking to reduce their own carbon emissions.
The 2050 target date was also removed in their final statement, in which leaders recognized "the key relevance" of halting net emissions "by or around mid-century". This made the target less specific and makes it more difficult to hold leaders accountable for achieving this target.
As many climate activists around the world have demonstrated through numerous protests and actions both in person and online, world leaders must take the threats presented by the climate crisis seriously, and take tangible actions to create change.
The climate crisis is interconnected with so many other issues in the world, with what's happening in Southern Madagascar through the world's first climate-induced famine emerges, to the recent Cyclone Kompasu in the Philippines which has displaced so many people from their homes. Women are particularly vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change, and extractive projects such as mining around the world as well.
Solving the climate crisis then, is crucial to tackling other world issues and must remain the true priority for leaders around the world.
We hope that world leaders use meetings like the G20 summit to make stronger commitments for climate justice and sustainability, as demanded by youth and millions of other people around the world.