There was widespread support for a global tax on transnationals at the G20 summit in Rome on Saturday but uncertainty with regard to strong commitments on behalf of climate.
A source close to the discussions said there was “broad, across-the-board support” at the first working session on Saturday for a minimum corporate tax of 15% on multinationals, scheduled to be endorsed by the heads of state and government in their final agreement on Sunday with the aim of implementing it by 2023 according to Belga News Agency.
“The United States and countries such as Brazil, France and South Korea have indicated their explicit support for the global minimum tax,” the source said.
Climate promises to be a more complicated affair. Many have been hoping fervently for a strong signal on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties, COP26, which opens on Sunday in Glasgow, Scotland. However, the G20, which includes developed nations such as the United States and EU member countries, as well as major emerging economies like Brazil, China, India and Russia, accounts for 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Defending the environment was, in fact, one of the buzzwords among demonstrators who began massing in the streets of Rome on Saturday afternoon at the urging of various organisations such as trade unions, the extreme left and Fridays for Future.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed in an interview aired on Saturday by the ITV channel that it was time to take some of the “vague” commitments in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and transform them into fast, solid commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
European Council President Charles Michel stressed the need to be more ambitious on climate, while he admitted that the issue was a tough one, particularly for some charcoal-dependent countries.
China, along with many emerging countries, still depends enormously on coal - a major CO2 emitter – especially to fuel its electricity plants during the current energy crisis.
The discussions in Rome have been complicated by the physical absence of the Chinese and Russian presidents, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, who are taking part in the summit by videoconferencing.