Tuesday, June 29, 2010

G20 Summit in Toronto Ends with Little Action on Climate Change

The G20 summit in Toronto ended with a general agreement on bank capitalization and recycled statements about the green economy and putting an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

Leaders of the world’s largest economies did manage to adopt new rules that will force banks to hold significantly more capital. However, countries unable to meet the original deadline of late 2012 will now have flexibility based on their own circumstances. The group also excluded Japan from a plan to cut national deficits in half by 2013, after Japanese leaders argued they would not be able to meet that target.

The communiqué released at the end of the talks made references to a green recovery and reiterated the pledge made at the last G20 summit in Pittsburgh to phase out "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption." It added that the G20 would focus on continued implementation of country-specific strategies to phase out or rationalize subsidies. These statements reflect a disappointing lack of follow-through on the already vague promises of previous proclamations.

The G20 statement also said, “To sustain recovery, we need to follow through on delivering existing stimulus plans, while working to create the conditions for robust private demand.”

The highlight of the summit would have be be India's announcement that it will phase-out subsidies on petrol and review subsidies on diesel and other fossil fuels. The most unhelpful country at the G20 would have to be the host nation. Canada consistently ignored calls from world leaders to allocate time for climate change related discussions. Canada also refused to show leadership in eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

The group of 20 leaders have established deficit-reduction targets and agreed to pursue higher capital requirements for banks. However, G20 leaders failed to work out the details of much-needed reforms to avert future financial and economic crises. G20 leaders also failed to advance climate change control or reduce subsidies for unsustainable fossil fuels. The Toronto G20 Summit is yet another missed opportunity in the fight against climate change.

In the past the G20 aimed too high and promised too much, at the Toronto 2010 summit the G20 aimed too low and promised too little.

Related Posts
G20 Must Cooperate for a Sustainable Recovery
G20 and Central Bank Governors Joint Communique
G20 Disagreements and Global Economic Reforms
Competing National Priorities
Program and Plans for G8 and G20 Summits in Canada
End Fossil Fuel Subsidies
The G20 and the Green Economy
UN Chief Asks G20 to Focus on a Sustainable Recovery
G20 Security Concerns Force Cancellation of Sustainable Supply Chain Event
G20 Protestors Dilute Green Message
The Tyranny of Protest and Climate Change Pragmatism
Local Business Promotes Green Agenda for G20 in Pittsburgh
G20 and Developing World Disagree on Climate Change
G20 Lays the Foundation for a Better World
Global Warming Exposes Resources but Arctic Meeting Leaves Some Out in the Cold
G8's More Aggressive GHG Targets
IMF Reforms

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