G20

World leaders broke with the United States on climate change and reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate agreement at the Group of 20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8, which brings together representatives from some of the world’s largest economies. 

However, a new report has exposed the strong support for large fossil fuel corporations from G20 governments as a whole.  

With the focus on dramatic images of German riot police using tear gas and high-powered water cannons to disperse G20 protesters in Hamburg on July 6, the message from those demonstrating in the streets was clear for those willing to listen: a better world is possible.

At a G20 meeting last October, Rupert Murdoch surprised some with a speech that criticised world leaders for, as it was described in his Australian newspaper, “their policies [that] have caused a ‘massive shift’ in societies to benefit the super-rich with a legacy of social polarisation”. In particular, Murdoch criticised youth unemployment: “The unemployment rate for Americans under the age of 25 is 13%, which sounds awful until I remember that in the eurozone that number is 23%, and it is twice as high in places like Spain and Greece, and parts of France and Italy.
Despite pledging in 2009 to phase out public subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, G20 countries have disregarded those promises and are now spending US$88 billion a year to fund the discovery of new gas, coal, and oil deposits around the world, according to a new report published last month by the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International.
The Australian public has to foot a $500 million bill for hosting the G20 summit in Brisbane last weekend. Just before that, the public funded a delegation — including our Rambo Prime Minister, Tony Abbott — to the APEC summit in Beijing. We don't know what that excursion cost the public, but you can be sure it wasn't peanuts. So was it worth it? After all, Abbott did not even try to shirtfront Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Leaders from around the world will descend on Brisbane this week for the G20 economic forum. In response, people are gathering in Brisbane to hold alternative discussions about transforming society to a more just and sustainable one. Protests will also be held against the impact the decisions made at the G20 will have on the lives of ordinary people.
Treasurer Joe Hockey could not escape hearing the voice of the people when 100 staff, students and community activists rallied on the Smithfield campus of James Cook University in Cairns on September 18. The rally highlighted the federal government's planned cuts to higher education and the rest of the budget. The National Tertiary Education Union JCU branch called the rally because Hockey was speaking at a business conference at JCU before attending a G20 finance ministers meeting in Cairns.
The June 26-27 Toronto summit of the exclusive Group of 20 club, to which the world’s richest countries invited the heads of state of the major emerging countries, raised great expectations — but it ended as empty as previous meetings As in London in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009, the Toronto G20 discussions focused on a way out of the economic crisis. But a capitalist way out — favouring creditors and great powers. For the past two years, global financial regulation has been an elusive sea serpent, unsurprisingly resulting in no concrete measures.
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