November 9, 2009

G20 Talks Come Up Empty One Month Before Deadline

The G20 nations did not reach an agreement on how to disperse climate finance, even though they agreed on Saturday to uphold stimulus procedures that continue to plague an "uneven" worldwide economy.

The 20 countries pledged to work for an "ambitious outcome" at December's very important Copenhagen climate change symposium, but did not meet their goal of approving how to dole out endowment to impoverished countries.

"We committed to take action to tackle the threat of climate change and work towards an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen" where countries will discuss how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the communiqu© announced.

Finance ministers are following emergency stimulus support steps regardless of indications that the world is recovering from a 12-month financial meltdown.

"We are not out of the woods yet and we need to maintain the measures we have taken," Alistair Darling, finance minister of G20 president Britain, said to AFP.

US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner added that there was a "very broad consensus that growth remains the dominant policy."

A month prior to the December 7-18 Copenhagen conference, the G20 talks came up empty on how to financially fight climate change, although it pledged only to "take forward" work on financial support.

"We committed to take action to tackle the threat of climate change and work towards an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen," the communiqu© noted. "We discussed climate change financing options and recognized the need to increase significantly and urgently the scale and predictability of finance to implement an ambitious international agreement."

Even though it appears that all 20 countries are in accord on the issue, a French source said to AFP on Friday that some countries feel that the G20 is not the "appropriate forum" to confer about the subject.

Darling did recognize there were "different views" that did cause several "arguments."

"If there isn't an agreement on finance, if there isn't an agreement about contributions to make sure we can deal with this problem, then the Copenhagen agreement is going to be much, much more difficult," Darling said to Yahoo News.

The outcome was disparaged by several environmental groups, including the WWF.

The G20 statement acknowledged that they had "failed to reach agreement on the financing required for a global agreement to stave off catastrophic climate change" and expressed "skepticism" about pledges to come to an agreement before Copenhagen.

Brown had encouraged the G20 to mull over a tax on international financial transactions, called the Tobin Tax, as a new "social contract."

When inquired by Sky News television if he supported a Tobin Tax, US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said: "No, that's not something that we're prepared to support."

Later on, he added: "I think it is fair to say that we agree that we have to build a system in which taxpayers are not exposed to risk of loss in the future."


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