G20 agrees on final communique to climate change – sources

FILE PHOTO: Journalists sit in the media center during the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 22, 2020.

Finance officials from the world’s 20 biggest economies (G20) meeting in Riyadh on Sunday reached agreement on the wording of a final communique that includes for the first time a reference to climate change, G20 diplomatic sources said.

G20 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in the Saudi capital to discuss top global economic challenges, including the spread of the new coronavirus.

Compromise language hammered out to overcome U.S. objections retained a reference to the Financial Stability Board’s work examining the implications of climate change for financial stability, although it dropped climate change from its list of downside risks to global economic growth.

One of the sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement.

Concerns about the economic impact of climate change have escalated in recent years and pressure is mounting on business to accelerate the shift to a low-carbon economy ahead of United Nations climate talks in November.

A report issued last week forecast the world’s financial services sector risks losses of up to $1 trillion if it fails to respond quickly to climate change and is hit by policy shifts such as the introduction of a carbon tax.

The International Monetary Fund included climate-related disasters in a list of risks that could derail a “highly fragile” projected recovery in the global economy in 2020.