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G20 Environment Ministers Agree to Tackle Marine Plastic Waste

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa

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Ministers and delegates gather for a family photo session at G20 energy and environment ministers meeting in Karuizawa, Japan, June 15, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. VOA

Group of 20 environment ministers agreed on Sunday to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste on a global scale, the Japanese government said after hosting the two-day ministerial meeting.

Environment and energy ministers of the Group of 20 major economies met this weekend in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo, ahead of the G20 summit in Osaka, western Japan, on June 28-29.

One of the top issues was ocean plastic waste as images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and dead animals with stomachs full of plastic have sparked outrage, with many countries banning plastic bags outright.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he wants his country to lead the world in reducing marine plastic trash, including developing biodegradables and other innovations.

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Group of 20 environment ministers agreed on Sunday to adopt a new implementation framework for actions to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste. Pixabay

The new framework is aimed at facilitating further concrete action on marine waste, though on a voluntary basis, after the G20 Hamburg Summit in Germany adopted the “G20 action plan on marine litter” in 2017.

Under the new framework, G20 members will promote a comprehensive life-cycle approach to prevent and reduce plastic litter discharge to the oceans through various measures and international cooperation.

They will also share best practices, promote innovation and boost scientific monitoring and analytical methodologies.

“I’m glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework,” Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, told a news conference.

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Japan plans to host the first meeting under the new framework this autumn when officials of environment ministers in the G20 countries are due to meet for the G20 Resource Efficiency Dialogue. (VOA)

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Escalating Consequences of Climate Change Hit Countries Globally

India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally

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Climate
As Climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives. Pixabay

The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally.

The Climate Risk Index 2020, an annual report by Germanwatch, ranks countries according to their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

It was released in the Spanish capital on the sidelines of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP25 that is being held in the backdrop of climate impact biting globally.

According to the report, India has also been badly affected, ranking fifth in the overall global vulnerability index in 2018, ranked first in terms of fatalities and second in the world in terms of losses in millions of dollars.

India’s overall ranking has drastically fallen from 14th in 2017, to fifth in 2018.

The report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries.

Japan is the worst-hit country in 2018, while Germany and Canada were both also in the ‘bottom 10’ i.e. the most affected.

The results reflect the increasing damage caused by heatwaves, which scientists have found are being worsened by climate change.

To explain this drastic fall in ranking in a year, David Eckstein, Policy Advisor (Climate Finance and Investment) with Germanwatch said: “India’s high rank is due to severe rainfall, followed by heavy flooding and landslides that killed over 1,000 people.”

The state of Kerala was especially impacted. The floods were described as the worst in the last 100 years.

Climate
A report shows that extreme weather, linked with climate change, is affecting not only the poorer countries like Myanmar and Haiti, but also some of the world’s richest countries. Pixabay

According to Eckstein, India was struck by two cyclones in October and November 2018 that also nearly killed 1,000 people. Last but not least, India also suffered from extreme heat. While the human death toll was kept considerably low due to public measures, the economic damage was quite severe.

Other countries ranking in the bottom 20 in the overall climate risk categories are the US at 12th, Vietnam at sixth, Bangladesh at seventh and France at 15th.

The report also points to the importance of negotiations at COP25. As climate impacts begin to result in permanent loss and damage across the world, there is still no specific UN climate finance facility to reimburse the loss of land, culture and human lives.

So far, the industrialised countries have refused to even negotiate it.

But at COP25, for the first time, financial support for climate-related loss and damage is high on the agenda.

For the poorest and most vulnerable countries, this climate summit is, therefore, of the utmost importance. They demand that states agree a deal to support those who are suffering, or at least acknowledge the necessity, with a pathway towards real help.

Otherwise the poorest countries will continue to rely on loans to cope with the consequences of climate change, which means they are threatened with excessive debts, undermining often already vulnerable economies.

In the talks that will last till December 13, India has been ambitious in its actions.

Climate
The escalating consequences of Climate change are now hitting both rich and poor countries, a report published on Wednesday said. India was ranked fifth vulnerable globally. Pixabay

It has emphasised that developed countries should take the lead in undertaking ambitious actions and fulfil their climate finance commitments of mobilising $100 billion per annum by 2020 and progressively and substantially scale up their financial support to inform parties for future action through Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

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India is also stressing upon the need for fulfilling the pre-2020 commitments by developed countries, and that pre-2020 implementation gaps should not present an additional burden to developing countries in the post-2020 period.

The Indian delegation will be led by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is attending the summit from December 9. (IANS)