[hepr-vn] Green groups slam G20 "missed opportunity"
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Sat Apr 4 02:08:00 EST 2009
Green groups slam G20 "missed opportunity"
Vague language and limited low carbon commitments fail to impress green business
James Murray, BusinessGreen, 03 Apr 2009
Green groups reacted with dismay last night to the historic economic rescue deal
brokered at the G20 Summit in London, branding it a "missed opportunity" to
secure meaningful action on climate change.
While business leaders and anti-poverty groups welcomed the G20's commitment to
provide an additional $1.1tr to the World Bank and IMF and introduce tighter
regulations on tax havens and hedge funds, green campaigners were left
disappointed by the final agreement's failure to deliver any specific
commitments to curb carbon emissions and invest in green jobs and technologies.
Environmental commitments were consigned to the last two paragraphs of the
lengthy communiqué issued at the close of the summit and consisted only of vague
promises to create " sustainable economies".
The communiqué stated that the goal of fiscal stimulus packages would be to
build "resilient, sustainable, and green recovery" and committed the G20 to "
the transition towards clean, innovative, resource efficient, low carbon
technologies and infrastructure".
It also offered renewed hope that an international deal on climate change will
be reached at the UN's Copenhagen Summit in December, stating that: "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."
Energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband said that the deal marked the
first time all major countries have collectively committed to achieving a deal
at Copenhagen. "This provides an excellent platform for discussions at the
upcoming Major Economies Forum," he added. "These are good outcomes,
establishing the central role of climate change in economic policy even in the
midst of this financial and economic crisis."
But green groups said that the deal had not gone far enough to secure specific
commitments designed to accelerate the development of a low carbon economy.
Glen Tarman, chair of the Put People First coalition of trade unions and NGOs,
said that while the G20 had made progress on some critical issues, there were
also "missed opportunities, especially on building a green economy".
His comments were echoed by Friends of the Earth's executive director Andy
Atkins, who accused G20 leaders of "short-changing the planet".
"The economic system and the global environment are on a devastating collision
course - but despite pledging to build an inclusive, green and sustainable
recovery little has been done to change direction," he said. "The world must
seize the huge benefits of investing in green technologies and energy systems -
this will slash emissions and create millions of new jobs around the world."
UK diplomats had pushed for stronger environmental commitments to feature in the
final communiqué, including a pledge to spend a large chunk of the $5tr in
global fiscal stimulus packages on low carbon projects. But the commitment was
ditched after opposition from a number of countries, reportedly led by China,
which is said to have objected to some of the proposed green language.
In related news, a global coalition of 124 institutional investors which
collectively manage approximately $6.5tr in assets, issued an open letter to
Barack Obama urging him to take a greater role in the UN's climate change
negotiations, the latest round of which have taken place this week in Bonn, Germany.
The European Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the
US-based Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), and the Investor Group on
Climate Change (IGCC) in Australia and New Zealand urged the president to push
for a deal built around binding emission reduction targets and an expansion of
the global carbon market.
"The new US administration has already shown its commitment to tackling climate
change on the domestic front, but now is the time to extend this leadership to
the international arena," said David Russell, co-head of responsible investment
at institutional investor USS. "Investors need to see strong policy commitments
on climate chang
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