EU's Charles Michel: G-20 needs more ambition in climate fight

ROME – It has taken far too long for political leaders to see the full effects of climate change, but the world’s top 20 economies remain divided over proposals to step up the fight against global warming, said European Council President Charles Michel , in an interview.

Speaking to POLITICO before the G20 heads of state and government working session on climate policy on Sunday morning, Michel urged his government colleagues to make the necessary money and efforts – by achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and then going beyond.

“From the new scientific reports we can see that it is not enough that we have to be more ambitious,” said Michel.

“We took too much time together before we decided to listen carefully to the scientists,” said the President-in-Office of the Council. “But now in the last two, three, four years we have understood, now it is serious and we have to accelerate now. And because it took us too much time to understand it now, the tasks are very complex and very difficult . ”

Michel met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning and said he understood from that conversation that some G20 leaders would be extremely reluctant to agree on a summit communiqué highlighting their goals and commitments.

“For some countries like India,” he said, “we see that it is not easy for them to accept the strengthening of the target because it is more important for them to first ensure that everyone respects the Paris Agreement.” . ”

Michel predicted that there would be tough discussions between the leaders and their negotiators. “In preparing this statement, we believe that there are still serious problems and that the next few hours will be important to assess whether we are able to pull the G20 together,” he said.

The Council President praised US President Joe Biden for returning to the Paris Agreement, which his predecessor Donald Trump had rejected. But Michel also urged the US administration to be clearer about what it is ready to do. Biden has limited support in US Congress for some of the more painful and expensive measures required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have to go into detail now to be transparent,” said Michel, “to make sure that there is a clear, straightforward evaluation and transparent evaluation and that we know exactly what we are doing.”

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