Group of 20 states ‘must take harder carbon line’

A technician demonstrates a car pollution control in Paris. Fifteen technical control centers will now experience new measures of pollutant emissions from passenger cars. (AFP)
Updated 01 September 2016
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Group of 20 states ‘must take harder carbon line’

PARIS: G20 states must work harder to ensure a swifter transition to a low carbon economy, NGOs urged Wednesday, notably deploring continued EU finance for fossil fuel-powered projects.
Major powers should revise upwards by a factor of six greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2030 to meet their commitments of limiting temperature rises to two Celsius under last year’s Paris Accord on climate change, Climate Transparency said.
“Our report shows that while global emissions growth may be coming to an end, there is not yet the necessary dynamic to transform the ‘brown’ fossil-fuel based economy and into the ‘green’,” said Climate Transparency, a grouping of international research centers, in a report released ahead of a weekend G20 summit in China.
“The G20 is responsible for 75 percent of global emissions, and its energy-related greenhouse gas emissions increased by 56 percent from 1990-2013,” the report said.
“While the positive news is that this growth has now stalled, the negative is that there is still more brown than green on the Climate Transparency G20 scorecard,” the report said, highlighting a 2009 pledge by G20 states to end fossil fuel subsidies.
Climate Transparency co-president Peter Eigen nonetheless praised summit host China for “taking more action than many countries.
“Climate leadership from China at the G20 Summit could help set the world on the right path to a future safe from the worst ravages of climate change,” said Eigen as the report rated China, India, France, Germany, the United States and Britain best “in terms of investment attractiveness” while urging Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do better.
The Hangzhou summit will push for the early entry into force of last year’s Paris Agreement.
The global NGO group Climate Action Network expressed concern that the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had assigned some 12 billion euros ($13 billion) to fossil fuel projects between 2013 and 2015 and that Brussels had earmarked some 1.6 billion euros for fossil fuel infrastructure from 2014 to 2020.
CAN Europe coordinator Maeve McLynn said EU policies such as the Emission Trading Scheme were also supporting controversial fossil fuel projects.
“The EU proudly stipulates that it has been a leading voice in advocating for strong climate action internationally. It has also pledged to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies, including fossil fuel subsidies by 2020,” said McLynn.
But she said the evidence suggested “the EU is way off track to achieve this goal” while “its public funding is out of sync with the Paris Agreement.
“The Hangzhou summit is (therefore) an opportunity for all G20 leaders to pave the way for a smooth and prosperous transition to zero carbon economies,” McLynn said
Last week, organizations including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth wrote to US President Barack Obama to express their concern that the mooted Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could pose a threat to environmental protection standards.


Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

Updated 18 June 2019
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Lebanon’s Hariri calls for cabinet solidarity in budget debate

  • The PM said cabinet ministers need to be united and responsible
  • Lebanon’s debt is almost 150% of its GDP
BEIRUT, June 18 : Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri on Tuesday called for parliament to quickly approve the country’s 2019 budget and urged his coalition government to avoid internal disputes.
The cabinet this month agreed a budget plan that shrinks the projected fiscal deficit by 4 percentage points from last year to 7.6% by cutting spending and raising taxes and other fees.
“What I want during the debate is for us to be responsible and united, and not contradictory,” Hariri said in a statement, addressing cabinet ministers as to their comportment during the parliament debate.
Parliament’s finance committee is debating the draft budget and has suggested amendments, local newspapers reported. It will then put the budget to the full assembly to ratify it.
Parliament is mostly composed of parties that are also present in the coalition government and which supported the budget there.
Since the budget was agreed there have been fierce arguments between parties in the coalition over several subjects, though these have not targeted the budget.
Lebanon has one of the world’s heaviest debt burdens, equivalent to about 150% of GDP, and the International Monetary Fund has urged it to cut spending.
“We have held 19 cabinet meetings to agree on this draft budget and these sessions were not for fun, but for deep, detailed debate over every clause and every idea,” Hariri said.
“For this reason, I consider it the responsibility of each of us in government to have ministerial solidarity...to defend in parliament the decision that we have taken together,” he added.
After the 2019 budget is agreed, the cabinet must quickly start working on the 2020 budget and on approving the first phase of a program of investments toward which foreign donors have offered $11 billion in project financing. (Reporting by Angus McDowall, editing by Ed Osmond)