ROME — Many of the climate and energy ministers at a Group of 20 meeting hosted by Italy agreed Friday to work toward even more ambitious goals for fighting climate change than those established in the 2015 Paris accords, an Italian official said.
Italy’s minister of ecological transition, Roberto Cingolani, also said during a news conference that concern over last week’s devastating flooding in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands was palpable during the two days of negotiations in Naples. Germany and the European Union are G-20 members.
“All began by offering condolences” to the representatives of the affected countries, Cingolani said. Such natural disasters are “changing consciences,” even on a political level, he said.
Climate scientists say the link between extreme weather and global warming is unmistakable, making it clear that urgent action is needed. The G-20 nations collectively account for some 80 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and some 60 percent of the planet’s population.
At the Naples talks, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Canada made clear they “firmly intend to go faster than the Paris agreement by the (end of) the decade, and below 1.5 degrees,” Cingolani said.
World leaders agreed six years ago in Paris to work to keep global temperatures from increasing more than 3.6 degrees, and ideally no more than 2.7 by the end of the century.
Scientists say both goals will be missed by a wide margin unless drastic steps are taken to reduce emissions.
“That half degree could make an enormous difference in terms of glacial melting” and other phenomena linked to climate change, Cingolani said.