At the G20 summit, the risk of a North-South antagonism which foreshadows the COP26

It was a risk before the summit of the Group of Twenty (G20), which met on Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 October in Rome. It could remain so during the 26e Conference of the Parties (COP26) organized in Glasgow in the wake. On the occasion of these two major multilateral meetings, the climate negotiations threatened to degenerate into a clash between the rich countries and the emerging countries. Among the three countries expected at the turn are Xi Jinping’s China, Narendra Modi’s India and Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil, three authoritarian leaders, keen to develop their economy, especially after the pandemic, and quick to put their sovereignty to the fore. when it comes to defending their interests.

“The possibility that they go on a crusade, making themselves the spokespersons of the poorest countries, in particular in Africa, exists. Everything must be done to avoid this type of cleavage ”, observes a Western diplomat familiar with the discussions. This is also one of the reasons why Emmanuel Macron hastened to meet the Indian Prime Minister on Saturday, in order to “Tie it down” climate discussions, as explained by the Elysee Palace before the G20.

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The stake is all the more at the heart of the summit of the twenty main economies of the planet as it will end when the 26e United Nations climate conference. Nearly 30,000 people from 196 countries will gather in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 for crucial negotiations to accelerate the fight against climate change. As soon as the G20 is over, the leaders of the great powers will indeed fly from Rome to the Scottish city, where 120 heads of state and government are expected on Monday and Tuesday. Xi will be absent, but will participate via video conference.

Limit global warming to 1.5 degrees

“This concomitance is very important. This is where balances could crystallize ”, judges the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. “A positive outcome would make it possible to arrive in Glasgow with momentum and the hope of succeeding in containing global warming”, abounds Alden Meyer, expert at the E3G think tank and connoisseur of climate negotiations.

For it to truly serve as a launching pad for the COP, the G20 is expected on several issues, the negotiation resembling a vast puzzle whose pieces are still scattered. First, recognize the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era. This is the most ambitious goal of the Paris climate agreement, sealed in 2015, which also plans to contain global warming. “Well below” of 2 degrees. The British presidency of COP26 has made this objective its priority: « To keep 1.5 degree alive » (“Keep the 1.5 degrees alive”).

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At the G20 summit, the risk of a North-South antagonism which foreshadows the COP26