”Nae Tae” G20 in St. Andrews Scotland

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The poor progress made by the G20 in St.
Andrews, echoes a week of negotiations in
UN climate talks in Barcelona where
Industrialised World Intransigence on
CO2 emission Targets has probably
doomed signing a legally binding treaty at
the crucial UN climate conference –
COP15—in Copenhagen in December.
Dr Richard Dixon, Director of WWF
Scotland said: “The G20 Finance Ministers
meeting turned out to be a mostly irrelevant
sideshow on the way to the talks in Copenhagen
in a months’ time. Failure to come to
agreement here is a major disappointment.
Given that these are the people who run the
biggest economies in the world it seems
unlikely that they will manage to devote any
serious time to the issue of climate finance
before the start of the Copenhagen meeting.”
On the streets of St Andrews 3rd year
International Relations student Oliver
Kearns said “The G20’s plan to put the IMF
at the centre of an economic recovery plan
is beyond a joke. It is precisely the structural
adjustment programmes of raised interest
rates and cuts to public spending imposed
by the IMF that have made so many countries
suffer during downturns; that’s why
Western countries follow the exact opposite
policies when they get into trouble, as the
nationalisation of banks demonstrates,”
There were 5 arrests at an anti-G20
roadblock on November 7, with activists
used locking arm tubes (lockboxes, lockon
tubes) to form a circle in the middle of the
road, blocking both lanes of traffic.
The G20 is made up of Argentina, Australia,
Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany,
India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa,
South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US,
and the European Union, with officials
from Central Banks and the World Bank
and IMF also attending.
It has become routine to issue a communique
at the end of G20 meetings showing
what decisions and progress has been made,
but clearly very little progress was made at
this meeting as shown by the generalised
statements and lack of a detailed package.
U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown
pushed for a levy – a Tobin Tax or transactions
tax – to prevent excessive risk taking
and fund future bank rescues, with support
from France, but the proposal was
strongly opposed by U.S. Treasury Secretary
Timothy Geithner, and Canada. (See
Bloomberg: Geithner, Brown Split on
Tobin Tax at G-20 Meeting)
Many emerging countries question
whether climate change should be a priority
topic of discussion at the G20, with
some beliving the G20 is not the right
forum. A split between industrialised
countries and developing countries is evident
on sharing the costs of reducing
greenhouse gas emissions to avert the
worst impacts of droughts, wildfires,
species extinctions and rising sea levels.
According to WWF Scotland, the G20
Finance Ministers were asked to look at the
financing required to make a new global deal
at Copenhagen work. WWF’s summary of
progress was detailed in their press release:
• the G20 acknowledged the need to
increase significantly and urgently
the scale of funding but failed to
make any reference to the sums
required, estimated to be around
$160bn a year of public financing
• the G20 failed to agree on new
sources of funding for a climate deal, such as auctioning emissions credits
and levies on aviation and shipping
• the G20 agreed some principals on a
mechanism to administer and distribute
these funds but failed to turn
these into concrete proposals
• despite last weeks pledge from
Europe there is no new money on the
table to help the most vulnerable
countries adapt to a changing climate,
around $10bn a year is needed.
In a World News Australia report Oxfam’s
senior policy adviser Max Lawson said: “The
G20 has once again failed to live up to its
rhetoric on climate change. As the clock ticks
towards Copenhagen, the hundreds of millions
of people around the world who are
already suffering as a result of climate change
cannot afford to wait any longer for a deal.”
Dr Richard Dixon said “This is a group
that can throw money at collapsing banks
but cannot find adequate figures for the far
worse challenge to the global economy of a
collapsing climate system. Talk of a financial
transaction tax has the potential to
raise hundreds of billions in new funding
every year, but turned out to be a red herring
without solid political support.”
”If we are to keep the planet below the
danger threshold of a 2ºC temperature
rise, the rich nations of the world are going
to have to help developing countries follow
a low-carbon development path and
help them cope with the impacts of current
and future climate change. We wanted to
see solid proposals on how the money
would be raised, managed and distributed
and an indication of how soon the countries
most vulnerable to climate change
will receive assistance. The G20 has failed
to deliver and the real work will now have
to be done at Copenhagen.” he said.

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