G20 Summit in Toronto Ends with Mixed Results

The G20 summit in Toronto ended with a general agreement on bankcapitalization and recycled statements about the green economy andputting an end to fossil fuel subsidies.

Leaders of the world’slargest economies did manage to adopt new rules that will force banks to hold significantly more capital. However, countries unable to meet theoriginal deadline of late 2012 will now have flexibility based on theirown circumstances. The group also excluded Japan from a plan to cutnational deficits in half by 2013, after Japanese leaders argued theywould not be able to meet that target.

The communiqué releasedat the end of the talks made references to a green recovery andreiterated the pledge made at the last G20 summit in Pittsburgh to phase out "inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wastefulconsumption".It added that the G20 would focus on continuedimplementation of country-specific strategies to phase out orrationalize subsidies. These statements reflect a disappointing lack offollow-through on the already vague promises of previous proclamations.

The highlight of the summit would have be India’s announcement that it will phase-out subsidies on petrol and review subsidies on diesel and otherfossil fuels. The most unhelpful country at the G20 would have to be the host nation. Canada consistently ignored calls from world leaders toallocate time for meaningful discussion of climate change.

It ishard not to feel that the Toronto G20 missed another great opportunityto advance the fight against climate change. In the past the G20 aimedtoo high and promised too much, at the Toronto 2010 summit the G20 aimed too low and promised too little.



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