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Philip Radford

Philip Radford

Posted: June 26, 2010 09:49 AM

Play by Play at the G-8 and G-20

What's Your Reaction:

Toronto - world leaders are gathering today to discuss several topics, including how to implement their commitment at their last meeting to phase out fossil fuel subsidies worldwide.

9:34, Monday, June 28

My prediction that some countries would show up with nothing (because I may have seen the leaked document with the commitments from different countries) hits the E&E Daily:

NATIONS: Six countries claim no fossil fuel subsidies -- leaked G-20 report (06/28/2010)Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter

President Obama and other world leaders yesterday renewed their commitment to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, but sidestepped specifics about how individual countries would do so and when.
Issuing a final declaration as they wrapped up a Group of 20 economic summit in Toronto, leaders again asked finance and energy ministers to come up with strategies for eliminating assistance for oil and gas production and consumption.

http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2010/06/28/5/

5:21, Sunday, June 27

The G20 Ends

Some G20 leaders have taken first steps towards phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, but collectively, their actions still don't address the urgent need to stop catastrophic climate change.

As BP's oil disaster continues to wreak havoc in the Gulf of Mexico, the G20's first step to reduce fossil fuel subsidies is the right move to make, but unfortunately in Toronto, there has been a lack of visionary leadership that would shift those resources into developing a new clean energy economy.

In the final communiqué just released, the G20 has taken uneven steps that reaffirm commitments made at last year's Pittsburgh summit to implement "country specific" strategies on fossil fuel phase outs.

Some nations deserve more credit than others. Of all the G20 nations, the Obama Administration offered up the most robust plan for ending subsidies for big oil and coal, though the plan represents only a fraction of the total subsidies and still requires Congressional approval.

At the other end of the spectrum, nations like Australia and Canada have failed to take their commitments seriously. In appendices to the communiqué, language suggests that commitments to phase out fossil fuel subsidies are "voluntary and member-specific," something Canada and Australia have been aggressively pushing for.

Laggards like Australia and the G20 host nation Canada are doing everything in their power to protect the dirty fossil fuel industries their governments rely on. Canada particularly has proven to be completely out of touch with the urgent need to address climate change and the risks of exploiting the tar sands for short-term profit.

2:01, Sunday, June 27

I find myself applauding President Obama twice within a few days on global politics. The most recent leaked draft G20 communiqué that I have in hand calls for medium term phase out of 'inefficient fossil fuel subsidies." While Harper and other leaders were working to weaken this, the U.S. pushed hard for this to be strong. In addition, the submission from the Russians (below) was added back in as "G20 draft says Gulf of Mexico oil spill shows need to share best practices on offshore accidents."

12:38, Sunday, June 27

Countries in the G-20 have submitted what fossil fuel subsidies they will cut in the mid-term. To see how many may game this, see the leaked memo that outlines how the government of Canada will water down the commitment of other countries and continue to subsidize its addiction to oil.

What you'll see when the submissions are public is what looks like a potluck, where the U.S. will bring something half baked (they are taking good steps, and can do more), Canada will bring something rotten, and many countries will be like the dude who brings nothing.

11:52, Sunday, June 27

World Leaders to hit "control-c" and skillfully follow it with a "control-v"

After Greenpeace leaked the draft G-8 Declaration showing significant backtracking on cutting subsidies, it seems that the communique will more closely reflect (or be a copy and paste job) of the G-20 communique from 2009, which read:

"Rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption. As we do that, we recognize the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services, including through the use of targeted cash transfers and other appropriate mechanisms. This reform will not apply to our support for clean energy, renewables, and technologies that dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will have our Energy and Finance Ministers, based on their national circumstances, develop implementation strategies and timeframes, and report back to Leaders at the next Summit. We ask the international financial institutions to offer support to countries in this process. We call on all nations to adopt policies that will phase out such subsidies worldwide."

10:42, Sunday, June 27

By Andrew Beatty (AFP)

HUNTSVILLE, Canada -- The drive for a punitive global tax on the world's largest banks ran into the sand Saturday with key G8 and G20 nations dismissing the European plan as unwarranted.

http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2542383/posts

Looks like this Robin Hood Tax idea is stalled for now... although with the EU supporting it and more countries than expected liking it, the B-20 (see below) may have only won for now.

9:31, Sunday, June 27

The G-20 begins.

The G-20 nations are haggling over their communiqué. For now, the word "voluntary" with regard to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies has been taken out. However, submissions from each country of what fossil fuel subsidies they will cut are expected to show that they are all picking and choosing what they'll cut.

5:02, Saturday, June 26

The G8 Ends.

U.S. government wants its international commitments to cut fossil fuel subsidies to be as binding as BP wanted MMS regulations on offshore drilling - just trust us, we'll do it.

12:26, Saturday, June 26

Here is an anlaysis of what the G-8 accomplished versus the four criteria for success:

  • G8 leaders honor their promise to keep global temperature rise below 2°C.
    Status: Incomplete
    The G8 leaders have failed to commit to greenhouse gas emission reductions that would prevent run-away global warming. They have reaffirmed their commitment to keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees celsius, but their support for the Copenhagen Accord sets us on a course for a three degree or worse world.

  • G8 and G20 leaders phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, something they committed to last year, and producing clear evidence that they are taking real steps towards this promise.

  • Status: Incomplete
    While the G20 is expected to announce details on a phase out of fossil fuel subsidies in their communiqué on Sunday, the G8 today has instead announced new subsidies for dirty energy - more dirty coal and nuclear power.

  • To lead the world in building a green energy future, the G20 must agree to create financial and regulatory conditions that incentivise a green economy.
    Status: Failed
    We need more than platitudes on building a green economy. We need targets and timetables; we need detail on programs; regulations; and price mechanisms. The G8 has delivered none of these.

  • Developed G20 leaders switch subsidies for fossil fuels to providing resources to the poorest countries to adapt to global warming, switch to a clean energy economy and stop deforestation.
    Status: Incomplete
    The G8 has reaffirmed they are putting in place their fast-start climate contribution, but it is far from clear that these funds are new and additional. To rob development to fund climate is not progress. Furthermore, the global phase out of fossil fuel subsidies in wealthy countries is estimated to come to $100 billion annually. That is the exact same amount of money the Leaders committed to provide for climate finance and renewable energy developments by 2020. Clearly they have a source to make good on that commitment.

    11:55, Saturday, June 26

    $5 billion committed to children's health and maternal child development.

    11:53, Saturday, June 26

    G-8 Leaders release an agreed communiqué. Russian offshore oil drilling text didn't make it into the final communiqué. Coal did. Clean energy hard to find...

    11:43, Saturday, June 26

    Rumor has it that President Obama will commit to cutting $38.8 billion in fossil fuel subsidies over ten years, reflecting the cuts in the Administration's budget proposal to Congress. This would be a good first step. Oil Change International lists additional subsidies that President Obama could cut. Governments submit what they will cut tomorrow at the G-20.

    11:32, Saturday, June 26

    What would make the G-8 and G-20 a success?

    • G8 leaders honor their promise to keep global temperature rise below 2°C.
    • G8 and G20 leaders phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, something they committed to last year, and producing clear evidence that they are taking real steps towards this promise.
    • To lead the world in building a green energy future, the G20 must agree to create financial and regulatory conditions that incentivise a green economy.
    • Developed G20 leaders switch subsidies for fossil fuels to providing resources to the poorest countries to adapt to global warming, switch to a clean energy economy and stop deforestation.

    10:32 AM, Saturday, June 26

    The B-20, a gathering of CEOs hand picked to attend the G-20 by governments, is attending the G-20 in part to dissuade heads of state from supporting the Robin Hood Tax, which would create a small tax on banks to fund a clean energy transition, measures to adapt to the changing climate, and funds to protect global forests. One of the companies invited: HSBC, which has had a track record of financing the destruction of global rainforests. A second, Suncor, the company behind the Tar Sands in Canada.

    10:09 AM, Saturday, June 26

    Proposed text from G-8 meeting calls for a green economic recovery and offers no details except building 20 new coal plants... in a meeting about phasing out fossil fuel subsidies... huh?

    9:42 AM, Saturday, June 26

    President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron are meeting today to discuss whether calling BP "British Petroleum" rather than "BP" is offensive to people in the England as well as the war in Afghanistan.

    Our sources say that Russia will submit text for all of the G-20 leaders to sign saying:

    "Drawing the lessons from the recent catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico we recognize the need to develop international mechanisms and procedures in regulating activities on protecting marine environment, preventing accidents related to offshore exploration and development, and dealing with their consequences if they occur."

    Russia, of course, has a strong interest in drilling in the deep water of the Arctic. The Coast Guard, by the way, says that an oil spill in the Arctic is their "nightmare scenario." Clearly, the only way to avoid such disasters is by banning all offshore oil drilling.

    While President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron discuss the word "British," oil continues to gush into the Gulf and Russia is proposing policies at the G-8 that would allow offshore oil drilling while "dealing with their consequences if [accidents] occur."

    This meeting is the moment for the U.S. and the UK to come together to spearhead an ambitious plan to move the world beyond oil, end of fossil fuel subsidies, and revive the global economy with green energy investments.

     

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