TOKYO – Energy and environment ministers of the G20 countries agreed on Sunday on the creation of an international framework that urges member states to adopt measures to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans, a pressing environmental issue.
Marine litter “is a matter requiring urgent action given its adverse impacts on marine ecosystems, livelihoods ... and potentially on human health,” said a statement issued after a two-day meeting in the central Japanese resort town of Karuizawa.
About 300 million tons of plastic waste are produced every year, of which eight million tons end up in the oceans that in turn affect marine animals and therefore humans, according to the United Nations.
Each country is set to report on its voluntary measures under the international framework, and despite agreeing on the matter, the G20 ministers were not in sync with all the issues, as is the case of climate change.
The United States, which pulled out of the 2016 Paris climate agreement, refused to back commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
So, the G20 countries, with the exception of the US, are fully committed to implementing the agreement that aims to hold global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius this century, above pre-industrial levels to mitigate the impact of climate change.
Meanwhile, the G20 ministers stressed the need to strengthen global cooperation to ensure stable energy supply, following Thursday’s attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
The incident was not mentioned in the statement but it pointed out the importance of having “reliable energy infrastructure to prevent energy supply disruptions,” as well as “diversification of energy sources, suppliers and routes, facilitation of open, flexible, transparent, competitive, stable and reliable markets.”
It is expected that these resolutions will be subsequently addressed at the G20 Osaka Summit, due to take place from June 28-29, in Japan.
The G20 group consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United States and the European Union.