The G-20 agenda in Rome Leaders of global economic power plants gathered on Saturday for the first face-to-face summit since the coronavirus pandemic, when climate change, economic recovery from COVID-19, and the global minimum corporate tax rate were on the agenda.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi welcomed the group of 20 heads of state at the cloud-like Nuvola Convention Center in Rome, in the Fascist EUR neighborhood, which was closed from the rest of the capital. Saturday’s start session focused on global health and the economy with a meeting to discuss the next steps towards Iran’s nuclear program by key leaders.
Italy expects the G20 to make significant commitments from countries that account for 80% of the global economy and are responsible for roughly the same amount of global CO2 emissions ahead of the UN climate conference, which begins in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday.
Most of Rome’s heads of state and government will head to Glasgow as soon as the G-20 ends. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping participate remotely.
On the eve of the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the Glasgow meeting risks failing the still-lukewarm commitments of major polluters and called on G20 leaders to overcome “dangerous mistrust” between them and developing countries.
“Let’s be clear: there is a serious risk that Glasgow won’t comply,” Guterres told reporters in Rome. He said that current formal commitments by governments “still condemn the world to a dramatic 2.7-degree increase in global temperatures.”
A recent UN environmental report concluded that announcements from dozens of countries targeting net-zero emissions by 2050 could limit global temperature rise to 2.2 degrees Celsius (4F) if fully implemented. This is closer, but still above the less stringent target set in the Paris climate agreement of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 F) compared to pre-industrial times.
The UN director also blamed geopolitical divisions for hindering a global vaccination plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and said the measures “have taken a back seat to vaccine collection and vaccine nationalism.”
It has blown up how people in wealthier countries receive a third dose of the vaccine, while only 5% of Africans have been fully vaccinated.
To address inequalities, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on his arrival in Rome that the United Kingdom would donate 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to developing countries. About 10 million doses have been sent to the United Nations-backed COVAX vaccine exchange program, and 10 million more will follow in the coming weeks, the United Kingdom said.
However, the G-20 is likely to be a conclusion of a comprehensive agreement on minimum corporate taxes. G20 leaders are expected to formally reaffirm their commitment to introduce a 15% global corporate tax rate by 2023, a measure designed to prevent multinationals from making a profit in countries where they pay little or no tax.
White House officials praised the move as a “game-changer” that would generate at least $60 billion in new annual revenue in the US. Department of Commerce, a stream of money that could help partially pay for President Joe Biden’s nearly $3 trillion infrastructure and social services package. Acceptance in the U.S. Department of Commerce is crucial because many multinational companies are based there.
But Biden is struggling to reach an agreement with his own party members. On what will be included in the mass spending plan, not to mention how he is paid. The president’s efforts to align with US law were not expected to be a central part of Biden’s talks with other leaders, White House officials said.
According to a senior government official who briefed journalists on the condition of anonymity on Friday. Biden is also expected to voice concern about an imbalance in supply and demand in global energy markets. The official said Biden will underline the importance of greater stability in the oil and gas markets for the sake of a global economy that has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The summit could be an opportunity for dialogue, as it includes delegations from major energy producers in Saudi Arabia and Russia, the largest consumer in Europe and China, and the US. In the US, which is both. However, analysts doubted that the meeting would have an immediate impact.
So far, OPEC and its Saudi-led allies, including Russia, called OPEC+, have ignored Biden’s requests to increase production faster than the current rate of 400,000 barrels per day per month until next year.