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UPDATE: This (summit) hour has $22 million

It is now being widely reported that the G8 and G20 summits in the Toronto-area this June will cost at least $1.1 billion. Some $933 million of this will be for security – for fences, new weapons, and more.

Although no official agenda with timelines has been released (yet), we know that the G8 summit will be Friday June 26 and the morning of Saturday June 27, and the G20 summit will be the rest of Saturday June 27.

As such, it will last about 48 hours.

$1.1 billion for 48 hours is $22.9 million an hour, $382,000 a minute, and $6,365 a second.

In the coming days we will be launching a website feature that asks you – how could this money be better spent? We look forward to your ideas, all of which undoubtedly will be better than how the money is now planned to be spent.

It has been estimated that $10-$30 billion a year could provide clean drinking water to half the 1.1 billion people around the world who need it.

That means the almost billion dollar security bill for the 48 hour summit could have instead provided clean drinking water to millions of people, maybe up to 50 million people.

It also means that about eight minutes of security costs for the summits – about $2.5 million – could have restored Canada’s long-standing, but recently cut, funding to the Global Environment Monitoring System, which assesses more than 3,000 freshwater sites around the world and supplies 24 United Nations agencies with vital information to assess water policy.

And here’s a sobering thought – every 8 seconds a child dies from drinking dirty water.

That means that during this 48 hour summit, 21,600 children will die because they have been denied the fundamental human right to clean water.

Update: Columnist Don Martin wrote in the National Post the following day that there is “about 16 hours of actual social and formal meetings at both summits… At that ferocious spending rate, taxpayers will be on the hook for $75-million per hour of leadership schmoozing.” That’s at http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/05/27/don-martin-political-costs-of-g20-summit-roll-in/.