The Climatico Team will be providing a live-blog service on the climate change aspects of the G20 Summit and surrounding events in London, United Kingdom. This page will be updated throughout the day, bringing together insights from our press team as well as our global pool of analysts.  Click here, or press F5, to refresh.

20:17 NB: So to end what has been over 12 hours of live-blogging from our analysts, I will leave you with Simon Billett’s summary article with four key take-home messages for the day.  Thanks for following our coverage of the climate-related aspects of the G20 Summit here in London, UK.  Goodnight!

20:14 NB: With the final press conference over, journalists and media representatives are being ushered from the Summit.  Many of the leaders here today called the Summit “historic”, and yet it had a distinct lack of discussion on climate change, save a press conference from Miliband and some final remarks from Obama.

19:48 FA: After the G20, President Obama is expected to visit France and Germany to mark the 60th anniversary of NATO. Many local hopes rest on enhanced US-EU cooperation in the international sphere.

19:46 SB: It is unclear whether Obama’s statements make Chinese and Indian action a condition for US action in COP15.  He has left this discussion open.

19:37 Obama: We need an interesting conversation on how to overcome this challenge… we need low carbon growth… a rapid deployment of technology across the world… the US needs to lead these countries into the low carbon energy future”

19:36 Obama: Our EU counterparts have moved quicker on this issue and perhaps the US need to catch up.

President Obama concluding the G20 Summit

President Obama's press conference concluded the G20 Summit

19:35 Obama: We talked about a whole range of issues: energy, how important it is for the us to lead by example in reducing our carbon footprints so that we can help to forge something with China and India who have much smaller footprints and chafe at the idea of having to sacrifice their development.

19:34 Obama just stated that if China and India had the same per capita emissions as us in the US, we would effectively “melt”.

19:29 RV: Reuters also reports “Glen Tarman of BOND (British Overseas NGOs for Development) and chair of Put People First, an alliance of 160 unions, development, faith and climate change groups, said: “The G20 appears to have made progress on some critical issues but there are also missed opportunities, especially on building a green economy, and causes for real concern in other areas. G20 leaders have not yet gone far enough on the fundamental changes the world needs.”

19:28 RV: Reuters reports “Adrian Lovett, director of campaigns for Save the Children, said: “Nobody should imagine this summit is anything more than a beginning. A communique feeds no one and words alone do not save a child’s life. But there is a ray of hope from today’s summit that leaders may have grasped the chance to point the world in a fairer, more just direction. Everything now depends on what those leaders do next.”

19:26 RV: Tearfund regrets sees the G20 as a missed opportunity.  “We welcome the new money in this huge fiscal package but the G20 today missed a major opportunity to ensure that all new investments constitute a genuinely Green New Deal,” said Paul Cook, Tearfund’s Advocacy Director. “With no clear commitments to ensure that stimulus money is invested in low carbon technology the world risks a recovery which is based on business as usual. It locks us into a path which will result in runaway climate change and devastating impacts for the world’s poorest community.””

19:25 RV: India reaffirms confidence in Obama’s leadership “”Under your leadership we will face challenges such as climate change,” the prime minister told Obama at their meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit here.”

19:13 NB: Still no mention of climate change in the question session.  Obama appears ill and just sneezed twice.

19:00 NB: Perhaps it’s an attempt to bring himself down to the level of the journalists in order to win their praise?

18:58 AD: While most politicians have an aide select people to ask questions, Obama is choosing them himself.

18:51 Obama’s only mention of climate change during his speech occurred while talked about the bilateral meetings: “we discussed coordinated action on a range of issues… [including how to] protect our planet from the scourge of climate change”.

18:50 NB: No mention of climate change yet in Obama’s press conference.

18:43 NB: At the reception earlier today, Obama was called “the most popular politician on the planet”.  His press conference just started and is being watched by the World’s media as I write this.  

18:41 FA: We have to remember that change in the US adminstration will take time, as they previously have been outside the Kyoto carbon reduction framework. Writing in the Guardian earlier in March, Nigel Purvis warned that the EU needed to resist the urge to set the US unrealistic climate standards. Its current emmissions are 17% abover their 1990 levels.

18:40 RV: Manmohan Singh description of his meeting with Obama where they spoke on how “the global issues like energy security and climate change can be dealt with together. I go back home very satisfied…”

18:36 NB: In true Summit style, Obama’s press conference has not begun yet, but the room is absolutely packed, and the organisers are currently shuffling around photographers to ensure that everyone has a sight line to the stage.

18:25 Adeline Dontenville just posted an article on Climatico discussing the seeming absence of the issue of climate change at the G20 Summit.

18:17 George Monbiot advocates a far greater focus on climate change

“The G20 leaders appear to have decided to deal with these problems only when they have to – in other words, when it’s too late. They persuade themselves that getting the economy back to where it was – infinite growth on a finite planet – can somehow be reconciled with the pledge “to address the threat of irreversible climate change””

18:12 RV: ActionAid’s response: “Today’s crucial G20 talks have promised a huge rescue package for the global economy, but the promise must be kept”

18:09 FA: The Guardian reports that US President Obama’s G20 visit brought a ‘warm glow’ to Number 10. President Obama’s press conference looks as though it will start shortly.

17:52 RV: John Hilary has also been barred, and asks on guardian.co.uk, “[h]as the government decided only to allow non-critical organisations into major events?”

“More importantly, excluding critical voices means that there risks being less media coverage of what the G20 has omitted to do when it comes up with the statement to conclude its meeting. The “deal or no deal” fixation sets the summit up as a game show in which the only concern is whether all leaders can sign up to a joint communiqué. This is setting the bar almost as low as it can go”

17:46 NB: The G20 leaders’ wives and husbands’ photo shoot is currently taking place.

17:45 jimwebber@twitter: #g20 You choose your leaders and place your trust, as their lies wash you down and their promises rust

17:44 FA: Several NGOs have been prevented from attending the G20 summit.  As well as the World Development Movement, War on Want had its accreditation revoked at the last minute. The FCO maintains that this is a matter of being inundated with applications and not having sufficent space. Both of these NGOs were organisers of the ‘Put People First’ march through London on Saturday. Some have pointed out that a common thread amongst those being sidelined is that they do not feel that the IMF, WTO and World Bank should be empowered by the financial crisis. All three of these organisations have been given seats at the leader’ dinner table tonight.

17:42 SB: The Canadian and Italian press conferences have now both come to an end without any mention of climate change.

17:40 FA: Walden Bellow, an economist with Manila-based ‘Focus on the Global South’ doubts whether any stimulus packaged managed by the IMF will obtain international buy in.

17:31 SB: Obama’s press conference will begin in 20 minutes.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown addresses the worlds media

17:29 AFP: “German and US economic recovery plans are more climate friendly that those in France, Britain or Italy, but all fall short of what is needed to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, according to a green ranking of stimulus plans released Thursday” 

17:17 RV: The Task Force on Low-Carbon Economic Prosperity, part of the World Economic Forum, has sent an open letter to the G20.  The group, made up of major companies, international bodies, and leading climate change experts sent the letter demonstrating their willingness to work towards fighting climate change and rebuilding the economy.  The letter, sent earlier this week, touched upon low carbon economies, energy efficiency, adaptation and other topics.

“Designed properly, the new framework could have a greater degree of impact than any other sustainable development initiative in history. This is because a well-designed, market-based framework…can also help catalyse the required flows of private capital and clean energy technology to developing nations in the most innovative, entrepreneurial and cost-effective way”

17:10 AD: The Dutch Prime Minister says it is really important the G20 has today talked about long term issues like climate change.

16:59 NB: The EU press conference is currently taking place.  The Canadian conference will begin shortly, and the India press conference will be in roughly 45 minutes.

16:57 RV: Julian Oram of the World Development Movement:

“It’s absolutely astounding that the G20 communiqué merely paid lip service to climate change and the need for a low carbon economy. The excuse that climate change will be discussed later in the year at Copenhagen doesn’t wash. 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.”

16:54 RV: The World Development Movement, who were banned from Summit, have released a press release: “G20 outcome a bitter pill to swallow”

16:53 atvieira@twitter: “next G20 Summit @ North Pole. Penguins have just confirm attendance”

16:51 MMG: Paragraph 27 of the communique text:

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

16:48 MMG: The summit has still not resolved on what measures are required to implement this green growth that is being discussed.

16:46 MMG: Here is the communique text on climate change:

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.

16:40 DA: Sarkozy’s press conference is now over without a single mention of the world “climate”.

16:39 RobertsDan@twitter: #G20 #Sarko “if this is not capitalism with a conscience I don’t know what is”. He sounds happy.

16:37 Sarkozy: “The G20 has recognised that the world must change.”

16:34 NB: The final question of the Brown press conference has been asked, without a single mention of climate change in any of the questions.

16:31 sdmoss@twitter: “#g20 good outcome for poor and macro stabilty. Where’s climate change?”

16:30 CAFOD says Miliband “cannot see the wood for the trees”

16:25 Brown: “We now have countries that would never have sat around the table together a few years ago coming together… and working together.”

16:21 SB: Climate change is not particularly on the agenda before the next G20 Summit in Washington in September.  Brown failed to mention it when he was asked about the road to the next summit.  The G20 leaders have effectively deferred climate policy to the UNFCCC process and the G8 in Italy.

16:20 SB: All of the talk is on trade at the moment.

16:17 AD: Sarkozy: Gordon Brown was a “particularly intellectually honest host” of the G20. The “agreement goes beyond what we could have imagined.”

16:16 robertsdan@twitter: #G20 green promise goes no further than committing to “work together”. What does that mean?

16:15 AD: Sarkozy has made no mention of the environment or climate change.

16:14 SB: Brown attempts to advocate a coordination game in the globalised world to deal with climate change, “If countries act together they can make a better difference”

16:12 Brown” “We will put more money aside for a green recovery.”

16:10 Brown: “We will manage the process of globalisation.”  “A new world order is emerging… to build a more sustainable… future.”

16:09 SB: Brown has just said that the G20 is committed to meeting again later this year to discuss a Post-Kyoto climate deal.

16:07 NB: Brown has just agreed to appoint the heads of the IMF and World Bank based on merit (one would assume as opposed to the current scheme of the EU picking the head of the IMF and USA choosing the leader of the World Bank).

16:04 NB: No mention of climate change in either conference yet.

16:00 SB: Brown has begun his press conference.  Sarkozy is next door giving a simultaneous conference.  Brown’s aids seem unhappy about Sarkozy speaking at the same time.

15:48 SB: Primeminister Brown’s press conference is about to begin.  President Sarkozy’s will be straight after.

15:46 RV: Dan Roberts at the Guardian says:

“Sadly, the difficulty of reaching agreement on other thorny issues such as regulation has kicked climate change into the long grass at just the wrong moment.”

15:44 RV: guardianeco@twitter calls Miliband’s press conference earlier “disappointing on green issues”

15:36 RV: fissionstrategy@twitter says:

“Just met with UK Enviro Sec David Miliband who says getting people excited about green jobs means describing what those jobs look like.”

15:29 NB: The Summit’s live web-stream is full of journalists tensely waiting for the next news conference.

15:19 RV: Despite the rhetoric, Giles Broadbent feels that climate change was shortchanged during the G20.

Journalists waiting in anticipation of the next press conference

Journalists waiting in anticipation of the next press conference

15:17 RV: Ed Miliband is confident about climate change progress: “What the G20 summit shows is there is an understanding among world leaders that the economic crisis and the environmental crisis can be tackled together”

15:09 NB: The second session is just beginning and Gordon Brown is speaking. Most of the discussion appears to be focusing on financial institutions.

15:05 MMG: The quite for the main press conference is very long, and the atmosphere feels rather anticipatory.

14:56 NB: Fuad Ali is taking a break so I’ll be taking over on the live-blogging front from here.  We still have plenty to look forwards to including an number of press conferences and a couple summary pieces from our analysts.  Stay tuned…

14:29 RV: This is not an absolute suprise, a Chinese news agency quoted Miliband last week saying,

“One of the fastest growing markets in the future is going to be in environmental industries.”

14:26 SB: Mexico’s President Calderon is leaving the UK at 14.30 BST and will be giving a statement at the airport rather than the conference centre.

14:25 SB: the press mood is frantic. This statement from Miliband is what many were hoping to hear.

14:18 SB: Miliband,

‘This is a significant step in mainstreaming low carbon development in economic recovery.’

14:16 SB: The communique from the G20 is throught to include specific language on climate change, [quoting Miliband] ‘despite the G20 being a primarily economic summit’.

14:12 SB: Climatico’s Simon Billett asks Miliband whether this talk of ‘first steps’ was anything more than agreeing to agree.

Miliband responded by saying that momentum building was key and that he had had significant discussions with Berlusconi on the inclusion of forestry as a specific issue at the G8 that will get its own discussion time.  There have also been private discussions between Merkel and Rudd on the importance of including forestry in a global climate deal.

Thus it appears that forestry will be a major topic of for the next ten months, yet the G20 seems to have reached nothing more than an agreement to agree.

13.58 RV: Intel chief Otellini has signed the Copenhagen Climate Council’s letter published in the International Herald Tribune today.

“We believe that this year we are at an historic crossroads. Either we establish a new more effective global climate treaty to tackle the climate problem, or we jeopardize our common future.”

13:53 SB: Miliband continues that the meeting with President Obama last night went well. Green growth was emphasised and both politicians agreed the challenge now was to build on the momentum developed at the G20 all the way to Copenhagen.

13:49 SB: Miliband talks around three points: 1) optimism with reference to copenhagen and securing a 20 nation sign-up at this Summit; 2) recognition that the mainstreaming of mitigation into development has been established from this moment on; and 3) that the G20 shows that Climate and Economy can be tackled together.

13:49 SB: More than two-thirds full now.

13:41 SB: The briefing room is filling up, and is currently at half of its capacity.  The 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 this G20.  The briefing was announced suddenly on screens in the media hall.

The press gather fro a statement from Ed Miliband, the UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change.

The press gather for a statement from Ed Miliband, the UK Secretary for Energy and Climate Change.

13:20 FA: Ed Milliband, UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will be giving a statement at 13:45. We will be bringing it to you shortly. Grapling with two sometimes contradictory interests in the same portfolio in an age of great climate diplomacy and politics, Ed Milliband has delivered the UK public and bureaucracy a special pragmatism in the recent past.  From controversy with respect to a new coal power station in Kingsworth Kent to promoting carbon trading between government departments, his statement is important for the UK domestic climate picture as well as for what it expresses to the G20 community.

13:12 SB: At this point it looks as though there will be little or no new content on green growth and low carbon technology. [FA] Political horizons have no doubt shortened and with Copenhagen COP not to far away, little ground will be made up at this forum. Bilateral and regional contact sessions will have played an informal role in developing national coalitions for future discussions.

13:09 SB: Working lunch, fish and chips for the press.

12:45 RV: Ashok Sinha from Stop Climate Chaos says,

“Instead of boosting more unsustainable consumption, the hundreds of billions of dollars on the G20 table for a fiscal stimulus must be used to invest away from using fossil fuels in favour of low-carbon economies, as well as supporting low carbon development in poor countries.”

12:41 SB: The G20 family photography needed to be taken again, as Stephen Harger (Canada) had been ommitted. He was in the loo.

12:38 SB: Rudd (Australia) and Berlusconi (Italy) now chatting in private.

12:38 SB: Mandelson says “There are key differences over numbers”.

12:34 RV: The Jakarta Post quotes Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono on his 15 minute pre-summit meeting with Gordon Brown.

“I said it was good to have *energy cooperation*, especially *with* BP, to jointly develop environmentally friendly biofuels in Indonesia.”

12:24 SB: The seating plan for dinner later today.

12:20 AD: It looks like they agreed upon listing tax havens and increasing IMF loan funds by $250 billion

12:19 SB: The first plenary session is just wrapping up.

12:00 RV: More from the bilateral sidelines, this time concerning President Obama’s interaction with Chinese President Hu Jintao. China and the US are the two largest national polluters. XinghuaNet reports that substantial attention, a paragraph, was devoted to clean energy and climate change in the ensuing White House statment.

11:46 AD: A study commissioned by environmental charity WWF and the low-carbon group E3G stated that the economic recovery plans being discussed by G20 leaders at the London summit represent “a missed opportunity” on low carbon technology.

Bob Geldof saving Africa.

Bob Geldof continuing advocacy for Africa.

11:40 AD: Adeline Dontenville has just published a blog article on how green the London G20 Summit outcomes will be.

11:27 RV: Globoreports that Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will tell the G20 that Brazil is ready to contribute to an IMF fund to help poor countries affected by the crisis.

11:06 SB: There will be no new money provided by this summit.  This leaves ‘green growth’ within the sphere of national policies.  All that this summit can do is to pledge to use certain climate measures in their plans.

10:53 RK: In his meeting with President Obama, the Indian envoy Schyam Saran called for a comprehensive climate pact and for the famous ‘stimulus’ package to include to provision to improve developing country’s access to green technology.

10:42 SB: Delegates are taking their seats in the plenary session now.The atmosphere is growing in the media pool as statements are expected to reveal the extent of agreement and division between delegations.

10:37 MMG: Post-breakfast photo opportunistic politics, Gordon Brown flanked by the Chinese premier and the Brazilian president.

10:19 FA: Leaders are busy having their photos taken. In recent months, government and press attention on fundamental failings in financial culture have been prioritised over environment. The coincidence of climate and financial crises creates an opportunity for newer, less seasoned ideas about how government may approach economy and environment.

“There can be no going back to business as usual” Put People First

This has been one of the messages from the public demonstrations taking place all over London.

10:15 SB: In the pre-summit information (reported below) there has been much discussion of ‘green growth’, but with little detail of precisely what form this will take.  Discussions taking place at the ExCel Centre here suggest that the use of market mechanisms maybe a preferred method for reducing emissions while also stimulating new markets within the economy–i.e. the carbon finance/trading sector.  While the use of market mechanisms allows emission reductions to follow the most efficient mitigation options financially, there is some concern among the NGO parties here that market mechanisms will not work without hard caps on carbon within the G20 economies to drive forward carbon trading–that is, trade cannot function without a cap.  Such a cap would be largely incompatible with the industrial interests that are also represented at this G20 summit.  Resolving these contradictions to effective mainstreaming of carbon mitigation into growth will be a key decider of the success of this meeting from a climate perspective.

The very idea of carbon trading, which stems from 2001 COP meetings, was strongly contested by many demonstrators at the Climate Campon Bishopsgate, who made their peaceful basecamp outside the European Climate Exchange (FA).

10:11 MMG: The Summit document “The Road to the London Summit: The Plan for Recovery,” emphasises trade, employment, climate and international development, in that order. On climate it articulates the need to

“Call for a low carbon recovery, and agree the need for international leadership on a strategic framework to stimulate investment”

Low-carbon growth is evidently being viewed through a wider sustainability lens in the context of the summit; this lens includes technological capacity-building and the creation of long-lasting trade links.  How sustainable can post-crisis growth really be? The FT has the whole strategically (leaked)communique online.

10:04 FA: This G20 summit has attracted much public and civil society anger, demonstration and hope. Conditional hope because of the new US administration.

09:52 SB: The sub-committee draft represents a departure from a report released earlier this year, with the House suggesting that the use of offsets was not a reliable method for reducing emissions

09:44 SB/MMG: On March 31 2009 the Energy and Environment Sub-Committee of the US Congress released a draft o the ‘American Clean Energy and Security Act 2009’. The release of the US House draft bill will certainly play well at both the G20 and UNFCCC Summits taking place.

“While it is clearly a step forward for the US domestically, as well as for the international negotiations, there are still major problems to be overcome–not least in terms of regulation and methodological problems with REDD at present.  The US must ensure that it is financing projects that are truly sustainable through offsets.” G20 Voice

09:32 SB: Just in from UNFCCC Bonn (ENB) . Canada has said that decisions on how to address consequences are a matter of national sovereignty, and the international response could only consist of recommendations of best practices or considerations.

09: 26 SB: There is some talk in the media hall that expectations may have been placed too high for a single, one-day summit.  UK Business Secretary Peter Mandelson has just made a comment to BBC News to that effect.

09:20 FA: The Business Secretary’s green credentials were the subject of a protest action recently.

09: 16 SB: Low-carbon growth may simply be reduced to agreement on attempting to ‘mainstream’ some environmental considerations in any new infrastructure.

09:13 FA: This meeting is the first opportunity many G20 leaders have will have to make face-to face contact with US President Obama. Much will be negotiated on the fringes of the summit. The course and potency of the global Climate Change negotiation has been strongly impacted by US policy in the past. ANP reports that Dutch Prime Minister Balkenende call directly for greater US action on climate change (RV).

‘I mentioned the fact that in the past the US did not join Kyoto. And that I hoped the US would expressly take part in the reaching of agreements on climate change in Copenhagen.’

09:09 SB: The press area is now filling up as delegations arrive at the Summit centre.

Delegations and press

Delegations and press

08:20 FA: The Heads of Delegation and Finance Ministers are arriving, limousine by limousine.

08:03 , and at the Guardian have reported

The draft G20 communique leaked at the weekend makes only the smallest reference to climate change, and appears to be vague on the subject of how green the $2tn (£1.4tn) stimulus package agreed by world leaders should be.

Fuad Ali (FA), Paige Andrews (PA), Simon Billett (SB), Niel Bowerman (NB), Adeline Dontenville (AD), Maria del Mar Galindo (MMG) and Radhika Viswanathan (RV) all contributed to this report.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email