G20 urges preparedness to tackle climate crisis
As Donald Trump skipped some of the key virtual meetings between G20 leaders to play golf, the European Union (EU) has called on nations to learn lessons from the coronavirus pandemic by stepping up preparedness and resiliency to tackle the climate crisis.
World leaders met virtually this week at the 15th G20 Leaders’ summit, which was hosted by Saudi Arabia this week.
While departing US President Donald Trump skipped parts of the meeting to play golf, the resounding message from the rest of the world leaders was that of preparedness.
The G20 meeting focused on the coronavirus pandemic and the optimism of the emerging vaccine options. Both the EU and UN called on the group to cover a £4.5bn funding gap for Covid-19 counter programmes. To date, around £10bn has been funnelled into responses to the pandemic.
Discussions focused on collaborative efforts to improve health access and trade, notably thought the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). With Joe Biden set to re-enter the US into the Paris Agreement, collaborative efforts to combat the climate crises were also discussed.
The EU called on nations to learn lessons from the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic by improving preparedness and resilience when tackling the climate crisis.
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said: ”As a lesson from the [coronavirus] crisis we need to step up global preparedness. We will discuss this again in May 2021 at the joint G20 Global Health Summit in Italy.
“To build back a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world we also need to step up actions to fight climate change. The EU leads the way to climate neutrality by 2050 and many G20 partners now have taken the same commitments.”
EU leaders struck an agreement on a bloc-wide recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in July. The recovery package remains consistent with proposals raised in May, which suggested that a €750bn spending package on green and digital transitions would be featured a within the EU’s updated seven-year €1trn budget.
A total of 30% of the recovery package has been ringfenced for spending on green and digital transitions. Spending will be guided by a new sustainable finance taxonomy, which will also encourage private investment into technologies that will contribute to at least one of six environmental metrics and objectives set out by the EU, including climate change mitigation.
More than 100 environmental NGOs and one million European citizens have joined the calls for the EU to stimulate the economy through massive green investment efforts. This would focus on resiliency plans as much as efforts to promote green energy, with a key focus being on just transitions that also improve responses to future pandemics.
President of the European Council, Charles Michel added: "Covid-19 has come as a surprise to many of us. But it is not the first global pandemic. And sadly, it will not be the last. Looking ahead, the global community has to be better prepared for pandemics.
“An international Treaty on Pandemics could help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner when they occur. It should be negotiated with all UN organisations and agencies, in particular the WHO. The WHO must remain the cornerstone of global coordination against health emergencies."