Day 2 of G20 summit as COP26 opens

By Kara Fox, Fernando Alfonso III, Maureen Chowdhury and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 2035 GMT (0435 HKT) October 31, 2021
8 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:53 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

COP26 kicks off in Glasgow on an optimistic note

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová in Glasgow

President for COP26, Alok Sharma, speaks on stage during the opening ceremony of COP26 at SECC on October 31, in Glasgow, Scotland.
President for COP26, Alok Sharma, speaks on stage during the opening ceremony of COP26 at SECC on October 31, in Glasgow, Scotland. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

COP26 has officially started in Glasgow.

The opening ceremony began with a minute’s silence for victims of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The COP presidency was then ceremonially handed over from Carolina Schmidt, Chile’s Minister of the Environment and the COP25 president, to Alok Sharma, a British Member of Parliament and the President of COP26.

The presidency of COP rotates among the five regional groups, designated as Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and Other.

The "Other" states group includes Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States of America.

In his opening speech, Sharma struck an optimistic note, saying: “We know what we need to do. Because six years ago in Paris, we agreed our shared goal. We said we will protect people and nature from the effects of climate change."

"We can move the negotiations forward or we can move on increasing ambitions. So let's come together these two weeks and ensure that what Paris promised Glasgow delivers," Sharma said.

Schmidt used her outgoing speech to send a message to the G20 leaders, most of whom are in Rome at the G20 summit.

“The success of COP26 will be assessed in three areas: (emission cutting) ambitions, finance and rules … I would like to appeal to the leaders of G20, I urge you to fulfil your commitments,” Schmidt said.

8:53 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

Prince Charles tells G20 leaders that COP26 is the "last chance saloon" on climate action

From CNN’s Kareem Khadder

Prince Charles, center, poses with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, second from right, and his daughter, Laura Mattarella, right, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, second from left, and his wife, Maria Serena Cappello as he attends a reception and dinner at The Quirinale Palace on October 30, 2021 in Rome, Italy.
Prince Charles, center, poses with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, second from right, and his daughter, Laura Mattarella, right, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, second from left, and his wife, Maria Serena Cappello as he attends a reception and dinner at The Quirinale Palace on October 30, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Aaron Chown/Pool/Getty Images)

Britain’s Prince Charles told G20 leaders that they have "overwhelming responsibilities to 'generations unborn,'" on climate action, adding that the COP26 summit is the last chance to take action.

Quite literally it’s [COP26] the last chance saloon. We must now translate fine words into still finer actions,” Charles said.

The Prince of Wales was addressing G20 leaders as well as leaders of the financial services and private sector on Sunday on the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Charles said that the world needs trillions of dollars to fight climate change but that can be made in partnership with financial institutions, government, and the private sector to reach the 1.5 degree climate target. 

“Following the recent COP15 biodiversity meeting in China and with this week COP26 in UK its only too clear that we will need trillion of dollars of investment every year to create the necessarily new infrastructure and meet the vital 1.5 degrees climate target that will save our forest, and farms and oceans and wildlife.

"No government has those sorts of sums which is why I spent so much time over the past 19 months trying to form a global alliance over the private sector as I longed believed that it holds the ultimate key to the solutions we seek," he said.

Prior to Charles' address, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told leaders that they must accelerate efforts in moving economies to sustainable paths, saying that any delays in doing so will come with serious consequences.

Draghi said: "Either we act now, face the costs of the transition, and succeed in moving our economy onto a more sustainable path, or we delay acting, pay a much higher price later, and risk failing."

"The shift to clean energy is key to achieving the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. We can no longer postpone it. This transition requires a significant effort, and governments must be ready to support their citizens and businesses through it. But it also offers opportunities to boost growth, create jobs and reduce inequalities," Draghi added.

The Italian prime minister also said that "the fight against climate change is the defining challenge of our times."

7:18 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

Biden raised concerns over Russian missile system during meeting with Turkey's President

From CNN's Allie Malloy, Ryan Browne and Kara Fox

President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, October 31 in Rome.
President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, October 31 in Rome. Evan Vucci/AP

US President Joe Biden raised concerns over Turkey's possession of the Russian S-400 missile system in his meeting with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the G20 Summit on Sunday.

"President Biden reaffirmed our defense partnership and Turkey’s importance as a NATO Ally, but noted US concerns over Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system. He also emphasized the importance of strong democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law for peace and prosperity," a readout from the White House read.

Turkey's purchase of the S-400 system has been a sticking point in relations between the two countries for years.

The first shipment of the S-400 system landed in Ankara in July 2019.

The Pentagon stopped the delivery of F-35 jet equipment to Turkey in April 2019, due to their decision to purchase the Russian-made system.

In October 2020, the Pentagon condemned Turkey's reported test of the S-400 system. Officials believe the missile system could pose a threat to the US and NATO.

The Trump administration announced in December 2020 it would sanction Turkey for the purchase.

8:53 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

World leaders will travel to Scotland later today for COP26. As the climate summit opens, here's what to know.

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

A general view of the the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday, October 31, venue of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in the city. 
A general view of the the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday, October 31, venue of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in the city.  Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

As the G20 continues in Rome on Sunday morning, a pivotal UN conference on climate change is finally getting underway.

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change -- known as COP26 -- was postponed last year due to the pandemic.

World leaders will be attending the annual event, with many G20 leaders scheduled to travel to Glasgow after the Rome summit concludes. No world leaders are expected to speak during the opening day of COP26.

A lot of the discussions during the climate summit will take place among ministers and other high-level officials working on climate issues.

Why COP26 matters:

The conferences are massive events with a lot of side meetings that attract people from the business sector, fossil fuel companies, climate activists and other groups with a stake in the climate crisis. Some of them are successful — the Paris Agreement was hammered out during COP21, for example — and some are painfully unproductive.

More than 190 countries signed onto the Paris Agreement after the COP21 meeting in 2015, to limit the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, but preferably to 1.5 degrees.

Half a degree may not sound like a huge difference, but scientists say any additional warming past 1.5 degrees will trigger more intense and frequent climate extremes. For example, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees could result in around 420 million fewer people being frequently exposed to extreme heatwaves, according to the UN.

Scientists see 2 degrees as a critical threshold where extreme weather would render some of the world's most densely populated areas into uninhabitable deserts or flood them with sea water.

Although the Paris Agreement was a landmark moment in the quest to address the climate crisis, it didn't include details on how the world would achieve its goal. The subsequent COPs have sought to make the plans attached to it more ambitious and to detail courses of action.

"On paper, the Paris Agreement was always designed as a cyclical process — 'see you in five years, with better plans and renewed efforts,'" said Lola Vallejo, the climate program director at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. "So right now, we are at this deadline, pushed back by Covid.

Ahead of the opening of COP26 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a dire warning on Friday. He said that “there is a serious risk that (the Glasgow conference) will not deliver "because the formal commitments by governments so far still fall short, and even “under the best-case scenario, temperatures will still rise well above two degrees." 

Guterres urged greater ambition on mitigation, and ambition on climate finance.

5:56 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

G20 leaders toss coins into Rome's Trevi Fountain

From CNN's Kevin Liptak and Kara Fox

G20 world leaders throw coins into the Trevi Fountain during the G20 summit in Rome, Sunday, October 31, 2021. 
G20 world leaders throw coins into the Trevi Fountain during the G20 summit in Rome, Sunday, October 31, 2021.  (Roberto Monaldo/La Presse/AP)

G20 leaders gathered for a photo-op at the famed Trevi Fountain Sunday morning, where they threw coins backwards into the water.

The Trevi, built in 1762, is one of the most famous tourist sites in Rome and is dominated by a giant figure of the sea god Neptune on a winged chariot. The fountain is often featured in film, including the cinematic classic La Dolce Vita, which featured actress Anita Ekberg wading through its waters in a memorable scene.

Legend has it that by tossing a coin in the fountain, a visitor is sure to return to Rome.

US President Joe Biden didn't participate in the photo-op. He spent the morning at his accommodations, the Villa Taverna residence of the US ambassador to Italy.

G20 leaders from left, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson perform the traditional coin toss in front of the Trevi Fountain during an event for the G20 summit in Rome, Sunday, October 31, 2021.
G20 leaders from left, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson perform the traditional coin toss in front of the Trevi Fountain during an event for the G20 summit in Rome, Sunday, October 31, 2021. (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

6:45 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

What's happening at the G20 summit today

President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, October 31 in Rome.
President Joe Biden meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, October 31 in Rome. Evan Vucci/AP

It's the second day of the G20 summit in Rome, with climate change, the global economy and the Covid-19 pandemic remaining high on the agenda.

Here's a look at today's key moments to watch:

  • Biden is meeting now with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The sit-down comes about a week after Erdoğan ordered 10 ambassadors -- including those from the US, France, and Germany -- be declared "persona non grata" after calling for the release of jailed Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.
  • Later, he's expected to host an event on "global supply chain resilience," according to a senior administration official. The focus of the meeting will be, short-term, “about effectively identifying bottlenecks and then pursuing strategies to break those bottlenecks," the official said.
  • Sessions on climate and sustainable development will be held today, with Britain’s Prince of Wales scheduled to address leaders on Sunday morning. Prince Charles' address is expected to be a plea ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.
5:55 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

Biden meets with Turkey's Erdoğan at G20

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

US President Joe Biden, left, greets President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, right, during a "family" photo-op at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The Democratic Republic of Congo's President and African Union Chair Felix Tshisekedi is seen in the center. Biden and Erdogan are meeting on Sunday.
US President Joe Biden, left, greets President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, right, during a "family" photo-op at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy on Saturday, October 30, 2021. The Democratic Republic of Congo's President and African Union Chair Felix Tshisekedi is seen in the center. Biden and Erdogan are meeting on Sunday. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden is meeting with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the G20 summit site in Rome on Sunday.

In a short photo op before the meeting, President Biden said he is planning to have a "good conversation" with his Turkish counterpart in Rome.

Speaking Sunday alongside Erdoğan, Biden wouldn't answer questions about whether he planned to raise human rights or whether he believed Turkey was too close to Russia.

Ahead of the sit-down, a senior administration official said Biden would warn Erdogan that "precipitous action is not going to benefit the US-Turkey partnership and alliance." Officials said regional issues like Syria and Libya would be up for discussion.

The US-Turkey relationship has grown tense in recent years. Turkey's purchase of a Russian air defense system has contributed to the strain. 

The sit-down comes about a week after Erdoğan ordered 10 ambassadors -- including those from the US, France, and Germany -- be declared "persona non grata" after calling for the release of jailed Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.

The two leaders last met one-on-one in June at NATO headquarters in Brussels, a meeting which Biden said was "positive and productive." It was a closely watched meeting after Biden in April became the first US president in decades to recognize the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as a genocide -- a move that risked a potential fracture with Turkey but signaled a commitment to global human rights.

5:15 a.m. ET, October 31, 2021

Today is the second day of the 2021 G20 summit. Here's what happened on day 1.

G20 leaders pose for a photo at the Trevi fountain on Sunday, October 31, 2021 in Rome, Italy.
G20 leaders pose for a photo at the Trevi fountain on Sunday, October 31, 2021 in Rome, Italy. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

G20 leaders met face-to-face for the first time in two years on Saturday, after pandemic restrictions meant that everyone attended last year's summit virtually.

Here's a recap of Saturday's key moments:

  • Leaders urged to unite in the face of global challenges, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in his opening speech. "Even before [the pandemic] we faced protectionism, unilateralism, nationalism -- but the more we go with all our challenges, the more it is clear that multilateralism is the best answer to the problems we face today. In many ways it's the only possible answer," Draghi said. The Italian prime minister also raised the issue of vaccine distribution disparities, saying leaders must be "aware" of the collective challenges ahead.

  • G20 leaders endorsed a global minimum tax corporate tax rate during the summit's first session, a core objective for US President Joe Biden. Each individual nation must pass its own version of the tax, and it may take some time to implement worldwide. One hundred thirty-six nations agreed to such a tax in October, and Saturday's endorsement from 20 of the world's largest economies is seen as a step toward worldwide implementation.The new rule will be formalized when the leaders release a final G20 communiqué on Sunday, when the summit ends. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the leader of this year's G20, said in remarks at the summit's start that the agreement was proof of the power of multilateralism.

  • An Iran nuclear deal can be quickly restored, US and European leaders said. The leaders of the US, France, Germany and Britain said in a joint statement Saturday that they are "convinced that it is possible to quickly reach and implement an understanding on return to full compliance" on the Iran nuclear deal after talks stalled over the summer. After meeting on the margins of the G20 summit, the leaders said that a return to compliance would "provide sanctions lifting with long-lasting implications for Iran’s economic growth."

  • Tackling the climate crisis is a priority. Biden met briefly with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Merkel’s likely successor, where he said we need to see an "adequate supply of energy in this moment as we make the long-term transition to a carbon-free economy," according to a administration official. Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that there's "no chance" of stopping climate change at COP26. "If everybody gets their act together, what we could do is get an agreement that means COP26 in Glasgow is a way station that allows us to end climate change and keep alive that dream of 1.5 degrees," he said.

  • Climate activists peacefully demonstrated in Rome, urging G20 leaders to take action on the climate crisis. There was a heavy police presence in Rome, which will continue throughout the duration of the summit.