Does the G-20 Even Care About the Environment?

Study finds global leaders unlikely to prioritize environmental policy at annual meeting

CALGARY, April 5 /CNW/ - In a paper released today by The School of Public Policy, Professor Barry Carin examines the prospect of G-20 leaders taking hard action on environmental issues at upcoming meetings and finds that it is unlikely that environmental policy will be a major agenda item for the next meeting in France in 2011, or at future meetings.

"There are major obstacles to G-20 action on international environmental issues," Carin writes. "The dangerous downside risks occur in the distant future, but policies and actions that lessen warming have immediate costs."  The G-20 is a body that has its hands full dealing with the current economic and financial challenges. 

Meanwhile, the environment is in dire need of substantive action. Carin's report evaluates ten environmental action points - Climate Change, Water, Forests, Biodiversity and Land Use Management, Air Pollution, Waste Management, Ozone Layer Depletion, Oceans, Fisheries and Population - all of which paint an ugly picture for future generations.

The report blames current institutions, like the United Nations, for not being able to coordinate their efforts in protecting the environment. He calls the vast number of international environmental institutions "a ballet company of prima donnas without a choreographer."

It is because of these failures that Carin looks to the G-20 to take the lead when it comes to the environment. He proposes a clear six-point agenda for global leaders to create real results, which includes addressing inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, promoting emission-abatement investments, and empowering current environmental organizations, among others.

Still, Carin concedes the likelihood of such an agenda being implemented at the next G-20 meeting is unlikely because major players like the US and China are far more concerned with strengthening their economies or current international security issues.

The paper can be found by going to, then clicking "latest papers".

SOURCE University of Calgary - School of Public Policy

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or to arrange an interview with Professor Carin contact:

Morten Paulsen

Profil de l'entreprise

University of Calgary - School of Public Policy

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