ROME – US President Joe Biden on Sunday accused Russia and China of any disappointment over the level of commitment of G20 leaders to the fight against climate change.
“Given the disappointment, the disappointment relates to the fact that … not just Russia, but China has essentially not acted in terms of any commitments to tackle climate change,” Biden said at his press conference at the end of both. -a daily summit of leaders in Rome.
“And there’s a reason why people should be disappointed about this,” Biden added. “Sam felt disappointed.”
G20 leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, have jointly committed themselves to stronger action than ever before to curb global warming. However, they failed to reach an agreement on the phasing out of coal due to opposition from a small group of countries, including Russia and China.
Biden acknowledged progress, but among the countries he claimed were still not doing enough, he also checked Saudi Arabia.
“We’ve taken a number of things here to end coal subsidies,” Biden said. “Here we are all committed to what we will bring to the G26.” In fact, he was thinking of the COP26 climate conference in Scotland, which began on Sunday and where many leaders went directly from Rome.
“More needs to be done,” Biden said, continuing the debate on climate change. “But it will require us to continue to focus on what China is not doing, what Russia is not doing and what Saudi Arabia is not doing.”
The last message from the G20 leaders left a lot of room for an explanation of who should bear the burden. Following the meeting, Chinese state media reported that Xi had told his fellow leaders that richer countries were responsible for reducing emissions faster.
Beijing disappointed Western governments last week by issuing a new set of climate targets that did not significantly shift the country’s position from previously announced targets.
Russian President Putin, who attended the G20 summit via video conference, insisted that his country was fulfilling all its commitments.
“Russia, like other countries, is experiencing – actually experiencing – the negative effects of global warming, and here is why: We are facing desertification and soil erosion, and we are particularly concerned about the thawing of permafrost, which is causing a significant part of Russian territory,” Putin said after recording his speech in the Kremlin.
“Our country is, of course, actively cooperating and taking a leading role in international efforts to mitigate climate change and stabilize,” he added. “We are faithfully fulfilling all our obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.”
Russia has relatively minimal obligations under international climate agreements because its economy has shrunk since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Karl Mathiesen contributed to the reporting.