As a result of Saturday’s global tax agreement and progress toward restoring the Iran nuclear agreement, Vice President Biden’s final day at the G-20 summit faced far greater challenges, including pressure to take stronger action on climate change and advance the delivery of Covid vaccines to the poorest countries.
Having their first in-person meeting since the pandemic began, the leaders of 20 of the wealthiest nations faced a difficult agenda, illustrating a growing divide with developing countries. These nations claim that industrialized countries hoard vaccines and have squandered decades of opportunities to slow climate change.
On Sunday evening, as the summit drew to a close, Mario Draghi, the prime minister of the host country, announced the gathering was “a success” and observed that the gathering had been markedly different from previous years. Mr. Draghi said that previously, leaders seemed less able to collaborate.
“Something changed,” he said.
Mr. Biden and other leaders will travel to Glasgow following the summit in Rome to address the United Nations climate conference, where they will meet with scientists and many developing nations that are calling for a rapid reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases blamed for warming the globe. COP26, the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, come as the U.N. warns of a looming climate catastrophe and is a test of global cooperation in the face of a crisis that knows no borders.
An administration official told reporters at a news conference on Saturday evening the United States wants to see concrete progress from the summit regarding reductions in methane emissions, decarbonization of global power production and ending international financing of coal projects.
The return to in-person diplomacy presented a great opportunity for Mr. Biden, who has staked his presidency on his ability to forge consensus at home and abroad.
It took him long to gain Democratic support for his economic and environmental spending plan, as well as manage the fallout from the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. He began the weekend in Rome by smoothing things over with President Emmanuel Macron of France, acknowledging that the administration’s handling of a submarine deal had been “clumsy.”
Ankara has been threatening to expel U.S. ambassadors and has decided to buy a missile defense system from Russia, so Mr. Biden’s meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was more challenging on Sunday. Reporters in Rome were informed that the Biden administration would discuss Syria, Libya, and Turkey’s desire to purchase U.S.-made F16 jets at the meeting.