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The Group of 20 (G20) leading industrialized nations begin a two-day summit in Rome on Saturday with climate action and the COVID-19 pandemic set to dominate the talks.

The G20 bloc, which includes Brazil, China, India, Germany and the United States, accounts for more than 80% of the world’s gross domestic product, 60% of its population and an estimated 80% of carbon emissions.

The talks will include the participation of Joe Biden, the US President, and Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister. Video link will allow for other leaders like Vladimir Putin from Russia and Xi Jinping of China.

Leaders will be focused by the impending climate summit

Looming over the talks is pressure to make headway on tackling global warming, ahead of the key COP26 climate summit in GlasgowNext week.

G20 host and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has called for a “G20 commitment on the need to limit the rise in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius” above pre-industrial levels, the most ambitious target outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

But China, the world’s biggest polluter and responsible for more than a quarter of all carbon emissions, has been accused of sidestepping calls to stop building new coal-fired power plants.

Beijing has plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. This is far below the expectations of environmental groups.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has demanded that his country be paid for protecting its share of the world’s biggest rainforest, the Amazon.

What else is on the G20 agenda?

As well as the pandemic and its consequences, the ministers are expected to discuss efforts to speed up the global economic recovery, address soaring energy prices and supply chain bottlenecks, which have affected a number of key industries worldwide.

G20 leaders will also sign on to a minimum global tax rate of 15%For large companies, the deal was completed earlier this month.

The move seeks to end tax optimization, in which multinational companies — including big US tech firms like Apple and Google parent Alphabet — shelter profits in countries with low-tax systems.

Leaders were expected endorse plans to vaccinate 70% of the world’s populationTo combat COVID-19 by mid-2022, create a task force to combat future pandemics

Protests are planned in Rome

Multiple rallies are planned around the G20 talks, including a protest by the Rifondazione Comunista communist party, scheduled for early Saturday afternoon.

Around 10,000 people are expected join a climate protest organized jointly by the Fridays for Future youth group and trade unions.

Rome has seen security stepped up after previous G20 summits that turned violent have been.

A 6,000-strong police presence is being bolstered by around 500 military personnel.

Large parts of the district surrounding the congress center hosting the summit have been cordoned off, and no one will be allowed to enter without special permission.

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To keep out potential troublemakers, airspace will be closed above Rome.

Violent clashes broke out earlier this month between police and protestors over the extension to all workplaces of Italy’s coronavirus.

First Rome, then Glasgow

Many of the leaders in Rome, including Biden, will fly immediately afterward to Scotland for the United Nations’ climate summitMonday is the start of the, which will be held at 8:00 a.m.

Known as COP26, the talks are seen as vital to addressing the threat of rising temperatures and consequences like rising sea levels, more powerful storms, worse flooding in some regions and worse droughts in others.

COP26 has been billed as the last major chance to galvanize the collective effort needed to limit global warming, with scientists calling for emissions to be cut by nearly half by 2030 to achieve that.

Two UN reports warned this week that the world is “way off track” to cap rising temperatures, with current pledges set to result in an average 2.7 degrees Celsius temperature increase this century.

mm/sri




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