With forest fires raging in the United States and Russia and floods ravaging parts of Western Europe, environment and energy ministers from the Group of 20 industrialized countries met on Thursday for two days of talks ahead of the crucial November climate change conference.
The host Italy hopes the Naples talks will help stimulate ambitious goals to be adopted at the COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which according to the organizers represents “the last best chance in the world to keep uncontrolled climate change under control”.
The Naples meetings are focused on three main themes: biodiversity and protection of the oceans; promote circular economies, particularly in the fashion and textile sectors; and realign the financial system to promote sustainable development.
The meetings take place as forest fires tear apart huge swaths of dry land in the western United States and Siberia, and as Germany and Belgium continue the cleanup effort after torrents of floods devastated several small towns, killing more than 200 . Scientists say that while it is difficult to attribute specific storms to climate change, extreme weather conditions of the kind that caused flash floods will become more severe and frequent in a warming world.
While many countries have pledged to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says emissions must be reduced by at least 40% by the end of the decade to keep temperatures under control.