G20 meeting in Naples: tough struggle for more climate protection

Status: 07/22/2021 7:53 p.m.

You want to do more for climate protection – and yet the G20 countries are having a hard time at their meeting in Naples. The goals of one are still far too high for the other.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Studio Rome

The framework is baroque and pompous, the negotiations are brittle to difficult. Not surprisingly, because the Palazzo Reale in Naples is fighting for nothing less than a common line of the 20 most important industrial and emerging countries for a global environmental policy.

To this end, actors as diverse as the European Union, the USA, China, Russia, Japan, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Brazil must agree on amicable solutions. The wish – especially from Europeans – is: a common no to the throwaway culture and the commitment that in all G20 countries sustainability, circular economy and recycling will have priority over the further exploitation of resources in the future.

Even if the practical effectiveness of G20 decisions is controversial, a corresponding commitment by the participating states would be a milestone in the fight against environmental degradation and climate change.

Dispute over more nature reserves

Just like the point about which was the most heated argument in the preparation of the planned final declaration: By 2030, this is what Europeans in particular want, 30 percent of the land and sea areas should be placed under nature protection. Worldwide and in every country to stop further overexploitation of nature. Resistance to this plan comes from China, among others.

The US climate protection officer John Kerry was optimistic on the sidelines of the meeting. He has the impression that the individual states want to do more to protect the environment and that they are ready to do it now.

The proposal to ban government support for coal-fired power plants abroad is also causing controversy. China in particular takes a stand on this issue.

The planet – a “sinking ship”

The G20 environment, climate and energy meeting was accompanied by protests at the beginning. Activists blocked access to the port of Naples and motorway exits, among other things. “G20 is dancing on the Titanic” read a banner. Davide Dioguardi, spokesman for the initiatives involved, says:

The G20 states move on a ship that is sinking. And by that we mean our planet. The prevailing economic model has failed. The flood disasters in Germany and China show that we need a radical reversal away from the current development model, which has devastating effects on the territories and the people who live there.

Parallel to the G20 meeting, an eco-social counter-summit is taking place in Naples, organized by, among others, autonomous groups, environmental associations, trade unions and the “Fridays for Future” movement. The alternative Nobel Prize winner Vandana Shiva is among the participants.

Difficult negotiations at the G20 environmental meeting in Naples

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, July 22, 2021 6:59 p.m.

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