G20 agree to end funding for foreign coal projects but set no target to phase out the dirty fuel in their own countries

Leaders of the world’s biggest economies have agreed to end public financing for coal-fired power generation abroad, but set no target for phasing out coal domestically as they wrapped up a two-day summit that laid the groundwork for the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

ccording to their final meeting communique, Group of 20 leaders also made a compromise commitment on Sunday to reach carbon neutrality “by or around mid-century.”

The Group of 20 countries represent more than three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Summit host Italy had been looking for solid targets on how to reduce emissions while helping poor countries deal with the impact of rising temperatures.

Without those targets, momentum could be lost for the larger annual talks that officially opened Sunday in Glasgow and where countries from around the globe will be represented, including poor ones most vulnerable to rising seas, desertification and other effects.

According to the communique, the G-20 reaffirmed past commitments by rich countries to mobilize $100 billion annually to help poorer countries cope with climate change, and committed to scaling up financing for helping them adapt.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met privately to try to resolve an escalating dispute over fishing in the English Channel, but the two countries appeared farther apart afterward and gave starkly differing versions of the meeting’s outcome.

The post-Brexit spat over the granting of licenses to fish in Britain’s coastal waters threatens to escalate within days into a damaging French blockade of British boats.

After the 30-minute meeting between Macron and Johnson on the fringes of a Group of 20 summit in Rome, a French top official said both leaders agreed Sunday there was a need to talk to each other “in a situation of important tensions.” He said measures need to be taken “as soon as possible” to get to a de-escalation.

Britain, however, denied the leaders had agreed to take steps to de-escalate the spat, saying it was entirely up to France to calm the waters.

The U.K. government said in a statement that during the meeting, Johnson “reiterated his deep concern” over France’s rhetoric and “expressed his hope that the French government would de-escalate.”

Britain’s exit from the economic rules of the 27-nation bloc at the start of this year means the U.K. now controls who fishes in its waters. Britain says it has granted 98pc of applications from EU vessels, and now the dispute comes down to just a few dozen French boats with insufficient paperwork.

France claims some vessels have been denied permits to fish in waters where they have long sailed. French Minister for European Affairs Clement Beaune on Sunday accused Britain of “targeting” France in a “political choice” and said Britain had breached the Brexit deal agreed by both sides.

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