Biden heads to G-20, COP26
US President Joe Biden embarks on a whirlwind show of US diplomacy on Thursday, with a reunion of the world’s richest nations and a major climate summit with high stakes and far-reaching implications.
Biden first travels to Rome for the G-20 summit from October 30-31, where leaders of the world’s richest countries will discuss the pandemic, climate change and the issues driving the global economy. It will continue until COP26, the two-day United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which begins on November 1. But first, he will meet Pope Francis, head of the powerful Catholic Church, of which Biden himself is a faithful parishioner.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin not attending either summit in person, Biden will head the forums, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters this week.
“The United States and Europe will be there, and there they will be energetic and united in both the G-20 and COP26, leading the agenda,” Sullivan said.
It will not be easy for Biden, who must restore the credibility of the United States after the disorderly military withdrawal from Afghanistan and a rupture with transatlantic ally Paris over the agreement on nuclear submarines AUKUS (Australia, UK and US) which scuttled a multibillion dollar project. French submarine contract with Australia.
These are some of the questions Biden and other leaders will focus on in their meetings.
The implementation of more aggressive climate actions will be a priority in Rome. The G-20, which includes the 19 largest economies plus the European Union, represents two-thirds of the world’s population, 80% of global GDP and around 75% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Countries should announce more emission reduction commitments to meet commitments made in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, which aimed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, ideally 1.5 degrees Celsius. To achieve this goal, global emissions must be halved by 2030 and reach net zero by mid-century.
Biden is expected to stress the United States’ commitment to cut emissions by 50 to 52 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. But it’s uncertain whether he can deliver on his climate agenda while his infrastructure and social spending bills are being debated in the US Congress.
Coal is a key point of contention in the G-20 and COP26 meetings. The UN has called on rich countries to phase out coal by 2030, but G-20 environment ministers have failed to agree on a timeline.
Indonesia, a major greenhouse gas emitter that will take over the G-20 presidency in December, is expected to pressure developed countries to meet their commitments to provide $ 100 billion a year in climate finance for support developing countries, reduce emissions and mitigate the impact of climate change. Delaying these commitments further could shatter confidence in the meetings.
“The investment has not yet been made. You can’t expect to solve these problems without investment, ”said Aaron Connelly, Southeast Asia policy change and foreign policy researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Response to the pandemic
G-20 finance and health ministers are developing a new mechanism to tackle future pandemics. In a letter to their G-20 colleagues, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s finance minister, who will assume the G2-0 chairmanship in December, said the mechanism would facilitate global coordination for the next pandemic and establish a new funding facility to address emerging threats.
G-20 faces pressure to attack COVID-19 vaccine inequality. 500 million doses of vaccine are still missing to meet the World Health Organization’s 40% immunization target in all countries by the end of 2021, while 240 million doses remain unused in the West, said Gordon Brown, WHO Ambassador for Global Health Financing. .
Aid organizations say rich countries failed to deliver on commitments at last year’s virtual G-20 summit to ensure global access to vaccines, instead of stockpiling doses for their own populations.
“The sheer selfishness and greed behind these deaths is unfathomable,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “While the G-20 countries enjoy vaccination rates of around 63%, only 10% of the population in low- and lower-middle-income countries have been able to get vaccinated. “
Supply chain and energy prices
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the global supply chain. The reduction in industrial activity has resulted in material shortages, port congestion, rising freight prices and difficulty forecasting demand due to changing consumer attitudes. Earlier this month, citing these economic stressors, the International Monetary Fund cut its global growth forecast for 2021 to 5.9% from its forecast of 6.0% in July.
Meanwhile, oil prices are at their highest level since 2014 due to a global supply shortage and high demand, especially in the United States, the world’s largest gas consumer.
Biden will be “laser-focused on supply chains and energy prices because he knows these issues are impacting working families here in America,” Sullivan said.
However, it can be difficult to get tangible deliverables at the top.
“They will do the right kind of exhortations on this, but I’m not sure there will be any new or significant action,” said Matthew Goodman, senior vice president for economics at the Center for Strategic and International. Studies.
The G-20 is expected to reiterate its support for alleviating debt problems in low-income countries through various existing international mechanisms, but it is also unlikely to deliver major breakthroughs.
“Debt restructuring is really important in all of this, in the context of the ongoing COVID pandemic,” said Leslie Vinjamuri, director of the United States and the Americas program at Chatham House.
The G-20 developed the Common Framework to provide a pathway for debt reduction on unsustainable loans to low-income countries. It has not yet been applied, in part because of reluctance from Beijing, which is often the source of these loans.
Global minimum tax
G-20 members are set to reaffirm the agreement reached by 136 countries announced earlier this month by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, to ensure that large corporations pay a minimum tax rate of 15% and make it more difficult for them to evade taxes. The question is whether and when G-20 members will be able to implement the agreement within their own national legal framework.