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UPDATE: The Council counters the G20 agenda on climate change

The G8 will be meeting in Huntsville on June 25-26, followed by the G20 meeting in Toronto on June 26-27.

What will be on the agenda?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said, “As hosts, our government will have considerable say over the agenda. It will be a tremendous opportunity to promote Canada’s values and interests; to advocate for open markets and trade opportunities; to assist on global action against global warming; and to champion values like freedom, democracy and human rights and the rule of law.”

The Council of Canadians believes that the G8 and G20 will be promoting a ‘business as usual’ agenda rather than what is needed, namely trade, climate and water justice.

Climate change
It has been reported by the media that, “While Canada’s official agenda for the end-of-June summits is not yet finalized, climate change will figure prominently at both meetings, a senior government official said.” They have noted that Environment Minister Jim Prentice “recognizes that the European Union has been advocating for Canada to highlight climate change at the summits, to move the Copenhagen accord ahead. And he’s aware that the G20 summit will group the world’s biggest emitters, as well as key drivers of the Copenhagen accord: the United States, China, India, Brazil and South Africa.”

G20 countries have played a major role in contributing to the climate crisis. They need to make real commitments to carbon emission reductions and step up and help pay the bill for climate change. Estimates for long-term climate mitigation and adaptation in the Global South range from $195 billion up to $400 billion needed yearly, while Canada’s fair share has been projected at 3-4 per cent of the global total.

We believe the commitments on climate financing suggested in Copenhagen need to be scaled up and must be in addition to existing development aid funding and not left in the hands of the World Bank or to the whims of the market.

The Council of Canadians
In Huntsville we will be facing a $6-million galvanized metal fence that will stretch 15-kilometres around the summit site. In Toronto, it is expected that the convention centre will be surrounded by a 4-metre high steel and concrete fence, with military helicopters overhead and sharpshooters on rooftops (as was the case with the G7 summit there in 1988). Thousands of reporters from around the world are expected to converge to report on the summits from their base at the Congress Centre near Toronto’s international airport.

So far, our plans include holding a protest in Huntsville on Friday June 25 and a major public forum with Maude Barlow and other high-profile international speakers at Convocation Hall in Toronto that evening. We will take part in a major family-friendly march against the G20 on the afternoon of Saturday June 26. We will also be participating in workshops and forums at the Peoples Summit taking place in Toronto the weekend of June 18-20. We also expect to be raising our concerns when the G8 foreign ministers meet at the Château Cartier in Gatineau, Quebec on March 29-30.

Next – the G20 and economic recovery, the Tobin tax, and democracy.