London: The finance ministers of G-20 nations have agreed on a timetable for the new framework for balanced and sustainable growth of the global economy, but made a little progress on financing efforts to reduce global warming.
The world’s leading developed and emerging economies committed to have peer review and “more specific policy recommendations” in place by next November.
The finance ministers during the two-day meeting at St Andrews in Scotland yesterday hoped that if all countries put political weight behind the negotiations over the next year, the world can recover without developing the huge trade and financial imbalances of the past decade.
But there was no agreement on a specific set of common objectives, not a mechanism to resolve disputes.
On the climate change issue, the finance ministers agreed only to keep working for an ambitious outcome at next month’s meeting in Copenhagen but could not agree on the amount of money developed countries will offer to poorer countries to help them reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.
The World Wildlife Fund said, “The finance ministers of the world’s dominant economies failed to reach agreement on the financing required for a global agreement to stave off catastrophic climate change.”
The meeting was also overshadowed by a dispute about the possibility of a global tax on financial transactions.
Addressing the meeting, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown floated the idea of such a tax would help banks to pay for the insurance they receive from taxpayers.
Within hours of the suggestion, the idea appeared still-born when US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Sky News: “A day-to-day financial transaction tax is not something we are prepared to support.”
But some of the other measures mentioned by Brown - an insurance fee to reflect the risk of some banks, a pre-funded pool of money to support orderly bank bankruptcies and contingent capital arrangements - have more international support. The US is supportive of efforts to ensure banks cannot rely on taxpayers to bail them out in future.
The lack of progress made by the G-20 in St Andrews, follows a week of difficult negotiations in UN climate talks in Barcelona as the world heads towards the crucial UN climate conference in Copenhagen in a month’s time.
The G-20 finance Ministers were asked to look at financing required to make a new global deal at Copenhagen work.
According to sources, the G-20 acknowledged the need to increase significantly and urgently the scale of funding but failed to make any reference to the sums required, estimated to be about 160 billion dollars a year of public financing.
G-20 nations failed to agree on new sources of funding for a climate deal, such as auctioning emissions credits and levies on aviation and shipping.