The United States is pushing through with its plan to include climate change as one of the talking points for this year’s G20 summit. The Australian federal government however is not very keen on including this topic on the agenda this coming November.
US Ambassador John Barry confirmed that their G20 representatives are already drumming up awareness about climate change months ahead of the G20 talks in Brisbane. He said that President Barack Obama believes that this is a critical issue and his administration will do what it can to impress on other nations that they need to do their part in preventing the problem from becoming worse.
About the Brisbane G20 Summit
The G20 or Group of Twenty is a conglomeration of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies in the world. These members come from different countries which include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States and a representative from the European Union. Spain also participates in every meeting, as a “permanent guest.”
The United States Takes Aim at Climate Change
“It (climate change) is one we will continue to press on,” Ambassador Barry said. “It’s one the United States will raise in every international forum,” he added at his talk at the National Press Club last week.
On the part of Australia, senior official Heather Smith sees little consensus among the Group of 20 leading economies to take dramatic new steps on climate change. She is helping shape the agenda for the summit and is concerned about the importance of establishing an agreement on this subject across the group.
She believes that this coming summit would give momentum to climate change negotiations. There is also a strong political consensus within the group on the political action towards this important topic, she added.
She also said in a speech on Australia’s Group of 20 presidency that the economic group is encouraged to invest in green infrastructure, and there was work on reducing fossil fuel subsidies and on climate change financing. However, she said that there must be a strong consensus but the problem is there is no strong accord in the G20 to do more than what was done in the past.
This is not just an Australian position, she added, but it reflects that of the membership. She was referring to member countries which are not as vocal as others about their positions. “If countries want to do something, you have to get consensus in order to do them,” she concluded.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott stands on the position that climate change is a significant problem but not the only problem or even the most important one that the world faces. This is manifested by his intent on having Australia’s carbon tax repealed, saying that it harms the country’s economy, and is not really helping the environment.
There are countries criticizing Australia’s approach saying it has neglected to put climate change on the G20 agenda. They are not in favour of Australia opting instead on focusing its efforts on sustained economic growth and investment.