politics

Without Cooperation on Climate Change We Will Go Nowhere, Italy's Draghi Says

Guglielmo Mangiapane | Reuters
  • Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is now more hopeful after successfully getting his G-20 partners to make new climate-related commitments.
  • The G-20 nations agreed on Sunday to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Achieving this agreement will demand concrete action that coal-intense economies are reluctant to change overnight.

ROME — Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is now more hopeful about multilateralism after successfully getting his G-20 partners to make new climate-related commitments.

Speaking in Rome, after hosting a G-20 leaders summit, Draghi said "something has changed."

"We saw countries (…) that had been quite reluctant to move along the lines that we were suggesting and pressing to move on until a few days ago, and then they moved and some of these moves took place last night with what (…) all of us consider right language," Draghi told CNBC at a press conference.

In the runup to the G-20, there were concerns that leaders would not manage to sign a joint statement that would put them on track to reduce global temperatures by 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Achieving so will demand concrete action that coal-intense economies are reluctant to change overnight.

However, the G-20 nations did agree on Sunday to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. "We recognize that the impacts of climate change at 1.5°C are much lower than at 2°C. Keeping 1.5°C within reach will require meaningful and effective actions and commitment by all countries," the leaders said in a joint statement.

"What has changed was the assessment that without cooperation we go nowhere on issues like climate, on issues like health, on issues like poverty — we go nowhere," Draghi said.

"The form of cooperation we know best is multilateralism and we know best because we have rules and these rules were agreed a long time ago and they granted us a long period of prosperity. Some of these rules ought to be changed now, it is quite clear but the way to change these rules is to do it together and that's where, I think, things have improved," the former European Central Bank president added.

The group of the 20 largest economies in the world also agreed to take more action to tackle climate change "within this decade." However, their joint communique offers some leeway by adding that this will be done "with national circumstances" in mind.

Speaking at the press conference, Draghi explained that the advanced economies cannot force emerging countries to transition to climate neutrality very quickly given the role they have played in past emissions.

"The developing countries are saying, you, rich countries have polluted a lot, actually, we are in this mess because of you. When you were already polluting 30, 40 years ago – we did zero because we were too poor so how do we square this… So if we enter into this fighting climate, we go nowhere," Draghi said.

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