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G20 communique signals climate action

Tony Abbott
AAP
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G20 nations have backed strong action on climate change in the wake of the Brisbane leaders’ summit.

“We support strong and effective action to address climate change,” the official communique released on Sunday said. 

Climate change wasn’t on the formal agenda prepared by the Australian presidency, but supportive statements by US President Barack Obama this weekend ensured its inclusion in the final statement.

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The leaders agreed their future actions will support sustainable development, economic growth and certainty for business and investment.

The G20 will work together to adopt a protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to present at the Paris climate conference in 2015.

“We encourage parties that are ready to communicate their intended nationally determined contributions well in advance,” they said.

“We reaffirm our support for mobilising finance for adaptation and mitigation, such as the Green Climate Fund.”

The UN-backed fund was set up to help poor countries deal with the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and severe weather events.

The US this weekend committed $US3 billion to the fund, and Japan $US1.5 billion.

The communique also confirmed G20 members have committed to lifting economic output to deliver an additional 2.1 per cent growth boost by 2018.

“Raising global growth to deliver better living standards and quality jobs for people across the world is our highest priority,” they said.

The target will add more than $A2.16 trillion to the global economy and create millions of jobs.

“We will monitor and hold each other to account for implementing our commitments,” they said.

At the same time, the G20 would be mindful of the spillover effects of this growth on the global economy, including possible inflationary pressures.

This might require central bank actions on monetary policy.

“We stand ready to use all policy levers to underpin confidence and the recovery,” the G20 said.

Progress would be evaluated at next year’s summit in Turkey.

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World leaders line up for a happy snap. Photo: AAP

A global infrastructure hub will be set up with a four-year term to bring together governments, banks and business to support a private sector-led project pipeline.

A key goal is to improve access to financing.

The G20 also appears to have heeded a United Nations call to deliver “quality” jobs and support women and jobless youth into work.

“We agree to the goal of reducing the gap in participation rates between men and women in our countries by 25 per cent by 2025,” it said.

This would bring more than 100 million women into the labour force.

A separate plan will encourage education and training for young people, with labour ministers due to report back to the G20 next year.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: AAP

The G20 called for countries support international trade by lowering costs, streamlining customs procedures, reducing regulatory burdens and strengthening trade-enabling services.

“We are promoting competition, entrepreneurship and innovation, including by lowering barriers to new business entrants and investment,” they said.

There were also commitments to eradicate poverty and ensure the G20 contributed to inclusive and sustainable growth in poor and developing countries.

Another key area was taxation, with the G20 endorsing actions to close profit-shifting loopholes for big or multinational corporations and secure country tax revenue bases.

“Profits should be taxed where economic activities deriving the profits are performed and where value is created,” they said.

Other commitments or policy actions included:
* strengthening the resilience of the global economy to future shocks
* increasing the stability of the international financial system
* recovering the proceeds of corruption and the denial of safe haven to corrupt officials
* a stronger multilateral trading system under WTO rules, getting Doha trade talks back on track
* improved functioning and stability of energy markets, such as oil and gas, to support energy security

The G20 stressed its concerns about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa and the human and economic impact.

“We support the urgent co-ordinated international response and have committed to do all we can to contain and respond to this crisis,” they said.

“We call on international financial institutions to assist affected countries in dealing with the economic impacts of this and other humanitarian crises, including in the Middle East.”

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