US and Italy aim to increase financial contributions to fight climate change

The United States and Italy plan to increase their financial contributions to help developing countries tackle climate change, officials told the Financial Times on the eve of G20 environment ministers in Naples.

Rome, which hosts the G20, and Washington are seeking to bridge a growing gap between rich and poor countries on climate finance, an issue that threatens to derail the UN COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

US climate envoy John Kerry and Italy’s energy transition minister Roberto Cingolani told the FT in separate talks that they wanted to increase their climate donations ahead of the COP summit.

“It is imperative that we do something [on climate finance]”said Kerry.” I said that to the president [Joe] Biden, he’s completely on board.

Cingolani said Italy will also increase its contributions and this is an important part of its climate policy.

The meeting of G20 environment ministers on Thursday, usually a low-key affair, is seen this year as a key indicator of potential outcomes and controversy ahead of climate change talks this fall.

The G20 includes some countries that have set ambitious climate targets, such as the EU, and others that have resisted setting emissions targets, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia and Australia, this which makes it difficult to reach a deal.

Rich countries missed last year’s target of giving $ 100 billion to help developing countries tackle climate change, and missing that pledge has led to considerable angst on the part of developing countries, which need financing to reduce their emissions and adapt to a warmer planet.

“We need a lot more effort,” Cingolani said. “We have to reopen the discussion, because not everyone is on the side of increasing support.”

Cingolani said he hoped countries could iron out their differences to reach an agreement on climate measures in a final statement. “We will work until the very last minute to achieve a unanimous statement,” he said.

He said a successful meeting would involve “two reasonable communiques” on which all countries agree to continue discussions on the goal of limiting global temperatures to 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial period and on support for emerging countries to “join the COP26 meeting later this year with a good base”.

The Italian summit will be the first face-to-face meeting of environment ministers since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and Italy hopes the talks will open the possibility of accelerated progress at COP26.

Kerry told the FT: “This will kind of be an indicator of the dynamics now, as we head to the United Nations General Assembly. [in September]. “

Kerry added that he hoped G20 countries would commit to reducing emissions.

Italy and the United States have both warned that they would need parliamentary and congressional approval, respectively, to get permission to increase climate finance.

Kerry said Biden was “trying to figure out” how to increase contributions to climate finance. “He has to make it happen in the context of our budget process, Congress and so on. But that debate and that discussion is going on right now. “

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