The G20 meets in Rome before COP26, discussing climate, vaccines

ROME (AP) – Leaders of the world economic powers attended the first personal summit after the coronavirus pandemic on Saturday, with climate change, the economic recovery of COVID-19 and the global minimum corporate tax rate on the agenda.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi received a group of 20 heads of state at Rome’s cloud-like Nuvola Congress Center in a EUR-fascist neighborhood closed from the rest of the capital. Saturday’s inaugural session focused on global health and the economy, with US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines to discuss next steps on Iran’s nuclear program.

Host leader Draghi opened the forum with a strong call to redouble efforts to obtain vaccines in the world’s least prosperous countries.

Draghi pointed out that 70% of people were vaccinated in rich countries, while only 3% of people in the poorest countries were vaccinated, which he described as “morally unacceptable”.

Draghi called for a new commitment to multilateral cooperation: “The more we face all our challenges, the more clearly it becomes that multilateralism is the best response to the problems we face today,” he said. “In many ways, that’s the only possible answer.”

Italy hopes the G-20 will deliver key commitments from countries that make up 80% of the world’s economy – and are responsible for about the same amount of global carbon emissions – ahead of the UN climate conference, which begins Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland.

Most of the heads of state and government in Rome will head to Glasgow as soon as the G-20 is over. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are cooperating remotely.

On the eve of the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the Glasgow meeting was at risk due to the still lukewarm commitments of major polluters, and challenged G-20 leaders to overcome “dangerous levels of mistrust” among themselves and with developing nations.

“Let’s be clear – there is a serious risk that Glasgow will not reach,” Guterres told reporters in Rome.

A recent UN environmental report concluded that forecasts by dozens of countries to pursue “net zero” emissions by 2050 could, if fully implemented, limit the rise in global temperature to 2.2 degrees Celsius (4 F). This is closer, but still above the less stringent target agreed in the Paris climate agreement, to keep the temperature rise at well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) compared to pre-industrial times.

The UN chief blamed geopolitical dividing lines for obstructing the global vaccination plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the measures “delayed vaccine accumulation and vaccine nationalism”.

The G-20, however, is likely to celebrate one agreement, on a global minimum corporate tax. G-20 leaders are expected to formally reaffirm their commitment to a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate by 2023, a measure aimed at preventing multinational companies from hiding profits in countries that pay little or nothing. taxes.

White House officials praised the move as a “game changer” that would generate at least $ 60 billion in new revenue a year in the U.S. – a cash flow that could help partially pay nearly $ 3 trillion in social services and infrastructure. wanted by President Joe Biden. Adoption in the US is crucial because there are so many multinational companies based there.

But Biden is trying to reach an agreement with his party members on what will be included in the high-spending plan, not to mention how it will be paid. According to White House officials, the president’s efforts to agree on U.S. legislation are not expected to be a central part of Biden’s talks with fellow leaders.

Biden is also expected to express concern about the imbalance in supply and demand in global energy markets, a senior administration official said, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity. The official said Biden would stress the importance of seeking greater stability in both the oil and gas markets for the sake of the global economy, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. oil prices are close to 7-year highs.

The summit could be an opportunity for dialogue, as it includes delegations of large energy producers from Saudi Arabia and Russia, large consumers in Europe and China, and the US, both of which are. So far, OPEC, led by Saudi Arabia and an ally including Russia called OPEC +, has ignored Biden’s requests to increase production faster than the current rate of 400,000 barrels per day next year.

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