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Leaders tackle rifts over economic recovery, climate deal

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-07

Finance ministers from the world's 20 most powerful and fastest emerging economies meet for a second day in Scotland to coordinate economic stimulus measures and discuss funding for a still uncertain agreement on climate change.

AFP - Hosts Britain told the G20 it had "no reason to give up" on a new climate change deal Friday, as finance ministers met for talks on bolstering the world economy and green finance.
  
Ministers from the world's 20 biggest and top emerging economies are holding the third in a series of ministerial meetings this year that have helped launch a one-trillion-dollar fiscal stimulus package to tackle the slump.
  
Over two days in the picturesque Scottish coastal town of St Andrews, they are seeking to flesh out agreements made at a leaders' summit in Pittsburgh in September.
  
Now that the United States, Japan, Germany and France have emerged from recession after last year's credit crunch, the G20's focus has switched from disaster management to building a secure economic future.
  
They are also grappling with reaching agreement on how to finance any deal to help poorer countries tackle climate change, ahead of December's UN talks on the issue in Copenhagen that observers say could end without a firm accord.
  
In a bid to give fresh momentum ahead of this weekend's meeting, British finance minister Alistair Darling told the G20 it "must push for a deal on climate financing and governance."
  
"The road ahead will be difficult, there are arguments still to be won. But that's no reason to give up -- rather, it's a reason to redouble our efforts," he added in a speech in Edinburgh.
  
Talks in Barcelona designed to lay the groundwork for the December 7-18 sessions ended Friday, leaving a host of bitterly divisive issues still to be hammered out.
  
On the broader world economic situation, Darling also warned there was "no room for complacency," despite the fact that the United States, the world's biggest economy, emerged from recession last week.
  
"We must see through measures to support demand and repair the financial system because we cannot yet be sure the global recovery has sufficient momentum to be sustained and durable," said Darling, whose country is still in its longest recession on record.
  
"The biggest risk to recovery would be to exit before the recovery is real."
  
The St Andrews meeting will also work out details of a global framework for growth agreed in Pittsburgh, designed to prevent fresh meltdown through coordinated international action.
  
Meanwhile, France says it wants to see genuine signs of progress on curbs on bankers' bonuses after the leaders agreed in Pittsburgh to move towards a system of spreading them over a longer period with the possibility of clawing back payments if they under-perform.
  
Finance minister Christine Lagarde told BBC radio: "I would hope that a little bit more can be done, to actually cast in stone the fact that we want to stop excesses, stop abuses, and bonuses that are strictly risk incentives."
  
Bonus policies have been blamed by many observers for fuelling last year's instability in financial markets, amid claims they encourage excessive risk-taking.
  
As a handful of protestors gathered in St Andrews to target the meeting, anti-poverty campaigners called for ministers to take action to help people in developing countries, notably by acting on climate change.
  
"Getting a global climate deal is literally a matter of life and death for millions of people in Africa," said Jamie Drummond, executive director of advocacy group ONE.
  
"We're now faced with a ticking time bomb: this G20 finance ministers’ meeting is a crucial stepping stone towards an agreement that could help the poorest countries adapt to the impacts they are already experiencing."

Date created : 2009-11-07

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