flickr LondonSummit

flickr LondonSummit

Author: Adeline Dontenville

It all started quite optimistically for environmentally-concerned observers of today’s G20 summit. Indeed, Ed Miliband, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, surprised the media by organising a press conference in the early afternoon. Media were not expecting any specific briefing on issues at the summit, especially not on climate change, which has figured as something of an auxiliary issue at G20. The Secretary insisted that the G20 was a key step on the road to Copenhagen and claimed that the communiqué would include specific language on climate change. Responding to Climatico’s Simon Billett, he also said that forestry issues have been mentioned in private discussions and would be a topic for the next ten months.

Indeed ‘Copenhagen’ and ‘climate change’ appear in the final communiqué, but the rhetoric does not cover for the emptiness of measures announced.

Here are the main extracts:

“We reaffirm our commitment to address the threat of irreversible climate change, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and to reach agreement at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December. 2009.””We agreed to make the best possible use of investment funded by fiscal stimulus programmes towards the goal of building a resilient, sustainable, and green recovery. We will make the transition towards clean, innovative, resource efficient, low carbon technologies and infrastructure”

The communiqué does not offer any clue as what measures will be required to implement this “green recovery”. It seems that discussions were postponed to later in the year, possibly until the next G20 summit. As stated by Julian Oram from the World Development Forum: “The G20 has missed the opportunity to deliver a green global stimulus package that would create jobs and help to tackle climate change. The economic crisis and the climate crisis are intrinsically interlinked and must be addressed as such through a global green new deal”.

Likewise, press conferences haven’t so far offered many more details on countries’ stances over green stimulus. Environmental issues were not even mentioned by President Sarkozy in his press conference, nor by the Canadian or Italian Prime Ministers. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s speech has been much less practical than his Secretary’s and limited to the restatement that the G20 was committed to meeting again later this year to discuss a Post-Kyoto climate deal.

Let’s hope the coming Obama speech will offer more details on his views on ways of combining economic and environmental developments.

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