G20 leaders struggle with climate change differences
Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies, meeting in Rome, sit down for a second day of talks today,; faced with the difficult task of bridging their differences on how to combat global warming ahead of a crucial United Nations summit on climate change. They will confirm the intention to limit global warming to 1.5°C but will avoid indicating stringent commitments, according to a Reuters leak of the final statement which was confirmed by EU sources. The need for “immediate actions” is not mentioned, as in a previous draft, and there is no reference to the zero emission target by 2050 except for a generic “by the middle of the century”. But the sources of Palazzo Chigi specified: “The drafts so far are preliminary versions: the Sherpa continued their session all night”. Italy hopes leaders would be able to secure crucial commitments for about 80% of global carbon emissions, ahead of the COP26 summit on climate change that starts today in Glasgow. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC that climate change was “the biggest threat to humanity” and that it presented a “risk to civilisation basically going backwards”.
Global tax minimum of 15% endorsed
On their first day of the summit, the G20 leaders endorsed a global tax minimum of 15% for large corporations. The agreement hopes to prevent large multinationals from stashing profits in countries where they pay little or no taxes.
Commitment to share COVID vaccines
World leaders at the summit also discussed COVID-19 vaccination distribution and access. All leaders claimed that it was necessary to break down inequalities between high and low-income countries in the availability and distribution of vaccines. WHO expects to vaccinate at least 40% of the global population by 2021 and at least 70% of the global population by 2022.
US, EU end steel and aluminum tariff dispute
The United States and the European Union have settled a dispute over tarrifs on steel and aluminium imposed three years ago by Donald Trump. US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told reporters that the deal would maintain US tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% aluminum, while allowing “limited volumes” of EU-produced metals into the United States duty free.
Japan goes to the polls
Japan’s 106 million voters are going to the polls today to choose between 1,051 candidates in a general election with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida hoping to win over a pandemic-fatigued public with spending promises as his long-ruling conservatives seek a fresh start. The LDP – which has held power almost continuously since the 1950s – is likely to lose seats and may have trouble retaining its commanding majority.
Georgians vote in second round of municipal elections
Georgians from 20 constituencies head to the polls to cast their votes in a highly-contested second round of municipal elections which will determine the mayors and city council members for those areas. Seventeen of those constituencies will have runoffs between candidates from the ruling Georgian Dream Party and the opposition United National Movement party, amidst a climate of high political tensions. The current political crisis began with last year’s legislative elections which were narrowly won by the ruling party but decried by the opposition as fraudulent. An incident which aggravated an already tense situation is the arrest of former president Mikheil Saakashvili, considered to be the leader of the opposition party.
Baldwin makes first public comments on shooting
US actor Alec Baldwin has said he would support limiting the use of guns on film sets. He was speaking on camera for the first time since he accidentally shot his cinematographer colleague Halyna Hutchins, whom he called a friend. American gossip site TMZ reported he spoke after paparazzi tracked him to Manchester in the US state of Vermont. He said the incident was a “one in a trillion episode” and that accidents of this nature very rarely happen.