The G20 meeting of the world’s most influential political and economic leaders in Brisbane, Australia, began slightly off-track today, according to Reuters. President Obama put out a few words about climate change at the start, announcing a much-needed US pledge of $3 billion to get the world two-thirds of the way toward a $10 billion 2014 international climate change fund goal.
As reported yesterday:
“The Global Climate Fund is crucial in terms of fairness because it guarantees that developing nations will not be penalized for sacrificing their individual progress to urgent world needs. The US contribution will bring the fund to $6 billion of the $10 billion proposed for the end of 2014. Earlier pledges have been made by Germany ($1 billion), France ($1 billion), and Sweden ($500 million).”
The President also addressed the subject of Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, calling it “a threat to the world,” and gently chastised countries who might consider disrupting security in the Asian Pacific–in effect, bullying–for nationalistic gain. (See video on The Guardian here.) Obama will speak again on Sunday.
Australia, hosting the world leader meeting, had put global economic matters at the center of its agenda. It is likely, however, that the US President’s focus on climate change and world security will supersede Prime Minister Abbott’s announced schedule of events to some degree.
President Putin of Russia has reportedly decided to cut short his visit to the meeting. He may have done so because of a bristling response from other leaders to his presumed course in Ukraine. According to an email from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman Jason MacDonald, the Canadian PM greeted Putin with a handshake and this:
“I guess I’ll shake your hand, but I have only one thing to say to you: you need to get out of Ukraine.”
A Kremlin spokesman told Reuters that when President Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron discussed Ukraine in a one-on-one meeting, “both expressed interest in ‘ending confrontation’ and rebuilding relations.” Similar sentiments were apparently voiced about a meeting between Putin and French President Francois Hollande.
White House video of the US President’s week in Asia to date is available here.
Summit talks in Australia will continue today and tomorrow. Now that Mr. Obama has introduced the subjects of security and climate change, the official agenda may not be revised, but the topics will certainly come up. On climate change, discussions are sure to include completing the 2014 international commitment to the Global Climate Fund and prequels to the UNFCCC meeting in Lima, Peru, the week of December 1.
Planetsave and other Important Media publications will blog the Lima meeting live from Peru.