Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

UN chief António Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres gives a joint statement with Spanish prime minister at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on July 2, 2021. (Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images)

UN Chief Reminds Leaders of Need for 'Clear and Unambiguous Commitment' to 1.5°C

"There is no pathway to this goal without the leadership of the G20," he said after a disagreement over a climate communiqué.

Jessica Corbett

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Sunday issued a statement emphasizing the importance of ambitious climate action after officials at a Group of 20 summit failed to reach an agreement for a communiqué just 100 days away from a major U.N. conference in Glasgow.

"The world urgently needs a clear and unambiguous commitment to the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris agreement from all G20 nations."
—U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres

"The world urgently needs a clear and unambiguous commitment to the 1.5 degree goal of the Paris agreement from all G20 nations," said Guterres. "There is no pathway to this goal without the leadership of the G20."

The G20 is made up of 19 of the world's largest economies plus the European Union.

"This signal is desperately needed by the billions of people already on the frontlines of the climate crisis and by markets, investors, and industry who require certainty that a net-zero climate resilient future is inevitable," Guterres continued.

"Science tells us that in order to meet this ambitious, yet achievable goal, the world must achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and cut dangerous greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels," he added. "But we are way off track."

The G20 communiqué (pdf) on energy transition and climate sustainability was ultimately released this weekend following meetings on Thursday and Friday in Naples. Reuters reported Friday that the countries couldn't agree on language related to phasing out coal power—which was confirmed in the G20 presidency statement (pdf) that also noted fossil fuel subsidies.

Italy holds the G20's rotating presidency and Roberto Cingolani, the country's ecological transition minister, chaired the Naples event. According to Reuters, Cingolani specifically highlighted difficult negotiations with China, India, and Russia.

Cingolani also told reporters that the disputed issues will now be discussed at the G20 summit in Rome on October 30 and 31. The two-week U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP 26), which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is also set to kick off on the last day of October.

"It is frustrating that despite the progress made by some countries, there was no consensus in Naples to confine coal to history," said Alok Sharma, COP 26's president-designate, in a statement Friday. "But I remain hopeful about the prospect of countries taking up this issue at the G20 Leaders' Summit in October."

"Countries on the frontline of climate change have laid out a clear call to action," Sharma added, "and the G20 needs to respond to their moral authority and leadership, with ambitious climate action that keeps the 1.5 limit alive."

Guterres on Sunday issued specific calls related to meeting the 1.5°C target.

"With less than 100 days left before COP 26," he said, "I urge all G20 and other leaders to commit to net zero by mid-century, present more ambitious 2030 national climate plans, and deliver on concrete policies and actions aligned with a net-zero future including no new coal after 2021, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and agreeing to a minimum international carbon pricing floor as proposed by the [International Monetary Fund]."

The U.N. leader further called on the G7 and other wealthy countries to "deliver on a credible solidarity package of support" for countries in the Global South, including by meeting a $100 billion goal, increasing adaptation and resilience support to at least 50% of total climate finance, and adjusting the climate portfolios of public and multilateral development banks.

Guterres said that he intends to "use the opportunity of the upcoming U.N. General Assembly high-level session to bring leaders together to reach a political understanding on these critical elements of the package needed for Glasgow."

The U.N. chief's comments came in the midst of fires and floods around the world and as The Guardian reported on a new analysis from Paris Equity Check about how countries' climate policies align with the 1.5°C goal:

The E.U. and U.K. have outlined emission pledges that could bring the world close to these aspirations. However, those of China, Russia, Brazil, and Australia—which remain reliant on continued fossil-fuel burning—would trigger temperature rises of 5°C if followed by the rest of the world. This dramatic discrepancy reveals a deep division over the energy and environment policies of the world's richest nations.

Yann Robiou du Pont, the lead researcher for the analysis, told the newspaper that it "underlines what many of us fear: Major economies are simply not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis and, in many cases, G20 countries are leaving us on track [for] a world of more heatwaves, flooding, and extreme weather events."

As WWF chief executive Tanya Steele put it: "Without more ambition from China, Brazil, Russia, and Australia, COP26 will fail to deliver the future our planet needs."

Though U.S. President Joe Biden has won praise from some world leaders for rejoining the Paris agreement and pledging to halve the nation's emissions by 2030, climate campaigners and experts continue to push his administration to go further, highlighting the United States' wealth and unparalleled track record on generating GHG emissions.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.


Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·

Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·

Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·

Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·

Pointing to 'Recently Obtained Evidence,' Jan. 6 Panel Calls Surprise Tuesday Hearing

The announcement came less than a week after the House panel delayed new hearings until next month, citing a "deluge" of fresh evidence.

Common Dreams staff ·

Common Dreams Logo