Green groups pile on pressure ahead of G20 summit

Monday, November 8, 2010

AMSTERDAM/BRUSSELS - Environmentalists and business groups Monday piled pressure on Group of 20 leaders ahead of their summit in Seoul - urging them to do more for the environment and avoid a trade war over rare minerals used in mobile phones and cars.

In a statement out of Amsterdam, Greenpeace appealed on leaders to honour their promises amid concerns that this week’s summit may backtrack on previous statements on climate action.

“This G20 is supposed to give a strong signal of support for the upcoming climate talks in Cancun, but instead we understand there are moves afoot to backtrack on commitments made a year ago,” said Patricia Lerner, a senior Greenpeace advisor.

The group issued a four-point “check list” leaders will be asked to tick when they meet in the South Korean capital Thursday and Friday.

G20 leaders must live up to their promise to keep average global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, create incentives for the green economy, and provide additional funds to help the world’s poorest countries adapt to climate change, Greenpeace said.

Separately, business groups from around the world Monday published a letter they sent to G20 leaders last week urging them to ensure open access to rare earth elements.

“All G20 leaders should work together to find pragmatic and sustainable short-term solutions for a stable and secure rare earth supply,” said big corporations and business federations from Europe, the US, Brazil, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

The appeal targets allegations that China has been using its near-monopoly on rare earth elements to hoard such commodities, interrupting supplies to Japan, Europe and the US.

Business groups said G20 leaders should refrain from resorting to export quotas “or other market-distorting measures”, refrain from political interference in the commerce of rare earth elements, enhance cooperation to diversify supply, and promote the recycling of such minerals.

The G20 summit, which brings the heads of state and government of the world’s largest economies around the negotiating table, is likely to devote much of its energy on stopping a global currency war that risks jeopardizing the already fragile and uneven global economic recovery.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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