G20 leaders to agree to join Paris climate deal as soon as possible

All members of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies are expected to join the first universal action plan to mitigate the impacts of climate change, according to a late draft of the G20 summit communique seen by dpa on Sunday. 

"We commit to complete our respective domestic procedures in order to join the Paris Agreement as soon as our national procedures allow," the draft read. 

US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping jointly entered their countries into the Paris climate agreement on Saturday, bringing the total number of ratified countries up to 26. 

The agreement will enter into force 30 days once 55 countries accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse emissions ratify it.

Activists at Greenpeace were sceptical of the agreement's impact, saying that the "G20 summit threatens to be a flop."

Criticizing a lack of additional commitments, Tobias Munchmeyer, Greenpeace's political unit deputy director, told dpa that "after China and the US showed leadership, the G20 seems to not want to go forward."

Last December in Paris, nearly 200 countries agreed to cut emissions with a goal of keeping the increase in average global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. 

The G20 communique draft did not mention the 100 billion dollars that signatories had agreed to mobilize by the year 2020 to help developing countries combat climate change. 

It also did not mention plans to fulfill a promise the G20 made seven years ago to put an end to controversial fossil fuel subsidies. 

The final communique is to be released Monday evening at the close of the summit in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou.

Several leaders of highly industrialized economies were in attendance at the summit, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May. 

Xi had opened the summit Sunday afternoon with a call for the body to become "an action team instead of a talk shop."

"It is imperative that the G20 takes the lead and blaze a trail," Xi reiterated to the summit Sunday evening at a welcome dinner. 

Last update: Sun, 04/09/2016 - 14:58

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