BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) – The world’s most powerful economies Sunday urged “strong and effective action” on climate change, catapulting the issue onto the final statement of G20 talks despite pressure from Australia to stick to economic matters.
The grouping, which includes the world’s worst greenhouse gas polluters the United States and China, also threw their support behind a United Nations fund aimed at helping poorer countries deal with the problem.
“We support strong and effective action to address issues of climate change,” G20 leaders said in a communique after weekend talks in Brisbane.
“We reaffirm our support for mobilising finance for adaptation and mitigation, such as the Green Climate Fund.”
The G20 talks follow a breakthrough between China and the United States on curbing carbon emissions last week, and calls from United States President Barack Obama and European leaders demanding action at the G20 on climate.
Australian host Prime Minister Tony Abbott had pushed economic issues to be the main thrust of the two-day talks, focussing on a push towards economic growth of 2.1 per cent over five years and creating jobs.
Abbott, who since coming to power a year ago has dismantled a carbon tax designed to combat climate change, had resisted some language on climate proposed for the G20 communique, with one European diplomat likening the negotiations to “trench warfare”.
But he insisted that climate change had been in the very first draft of the communique and were discussed throughout the year of Australia’s G20 presidency.
“Obviously, it goes without saying that G20 leaders, all of us, support strong and effective action to address climate change,” he told reporters.
“Our actions will support sustainable development, economic growth and certainty for business and investment and of course we will all work constructively towards the climate change conference in Paris next year.”