Image copyright YONI/GETTY IMAGES Image caption The governments of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, South Korea, the UK and Japan signed up to the pact
Fourteen of the world’s richest nations have struck a deal to make their governments work harder to combat climate change.
The 2020 leaders’ summit will discuss the Paris Agreement on climate change and strengthen its architecture.
The meeting will take place in New York, after which the leaders will report on their progress.
This will be done in the context of the looming UN Climate Change Conference in December.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Naomi Klein said the new action “shows what can be done when governments work together”
But it remains unclear if they will achieve that by making less ambitious policies than countries like India, which is keen to keep its own emissions to near zero.
The move comes as climate change continues to bring more and more extreme weather to the planet.
And if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis, it will have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, in particular from fossil fuels.
The climate pact is intended to act as a framework for governments to work together – for instance, to implement the pledge from 195 countries that they would try to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.
But meeting that figure would require that all countries cut their emissions drastically, putting huge economic pressures on them.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A gauge shows how much air pollution in Beijing is leading to air quality problems for people living in the city
Some developed countries are angry about the policies of other countries, and they have so far kept their own emissions low.
Meanwhile, in Asia, India and other countries are stepping up the pace of emissions cuts – turning several of them into leaders in green technology.
The power companies that generate electricity from coal in countries like India and China need to limit the use of this fuel – but doing so means getting rid of a lot of power plants, which would cause huge economic disruption and put huge pressure on the economies of those countries.
China, for instance, is a major player in global renewable energy market and has set a target of pushing the share of renewables in its energy mix to 20% by 2030.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Cutting emissions could mean displacing existing nuclear power plants
In New York, the key aim will be to get the world’s governments to think about what they can do to match the ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement.
The measures will include opening coal-fired power plants up to carbon capture technology and putting off implementing other emissions cutting policies so that countries can concentrate on cutting emissions from coal.
But despite the limits on cuts to emissions already promised by the developing countries, most of the richest nations will have to urgently reduce the emissions of coal-fired power plants, since global warming has already risen beyond 1C and there are now people out there who believe we will run out of alternative ways of producing electricity if they do not.
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And despite the hope of allowing these nations to make the right decisions, it remains to be seen if they will be willing to balance the needs of developing countries with their own objectives.