G20 Research Group

G20 Summits |  G20 Ministerials |  G20 Analysis |  Search |  About the G20 Research Group
[English]  [Français]  [Deutsch]  [Italiano]  [Portuguesa]  [Japanese]  [Chinese]  [Korean]  [Indonesian]

University of Toronto

G20 Information Centre
provided by the G20 Research Group

G20 Leaders' Conclusions on Climate Change, 2008-10

Drawn from G20 leaders' documents
Zaria Shaw, G20 Research Group, February 15, 2011

See also G20 Finance Conclusions on Climate Change

Summary of References to Climate Change in G20 Communiqués



% of Overall Words


% of Overall


% of Overall Documents

Total Dedicated Documents

2008 Washington








2009 London








2009 Pittsburgh








2010 Toronto 838 7.4 11 7.6 1 50 0
2010 Seoul 2018 12.7 25 11.4 3 60 0









Data are drawn from all official English-language documents released by the G20 leaders as a group. Charts are excluded.
“# of Words” is the number of subjects related to climate change for the year specified, excluding document titles and references. Words are calculated by paragraph because the paragraph is the unit of analysis.
“% of Total Words” refers to the total number of words in all documents for the year specified.
“# of Paragraphs” is the number of paragraphs containing references to climate change for the year specified. Each point is recorded as a separate paragraph.
“% of Total Paragraphs” refers to the total number of paragraphs in all documents for the year specified.
“# of Documents” is the number of documents that contain subjects related to climate change and excludes dedicated documents.
“% of Total Documents” refers to the total number of documents for the year specified.
“# of Dedicated Documents” is the number of documents for the year specified that contain a subject related to climate change in the title.

[back to top]


Since their first meeting in 2008, G20 leaders have supported their finance ministers and central bank governors in efforts to achieve "sustainable economic growth." At Pittsburgh in 2009 the G20 endorsed the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Copenhagen Accord from the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP-15) in Denmark in 2009. The non-legally binding Copenhagen Accord compliments, but does not replace, the legally binding Kyoto Protocol (agreed to at COP-3 in Japan in 1997 and now ratified by just under 200 countries) that expires in 2012. Under the Copenhagen Accord, 114 countries, including all 17 members of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), agreed for the first time to reduce their emissions and register their national commitments by January 2010. Countries also committed to "delivering 'prompt start' funding to assist developing countries in deploying clean energy technologies, reducing forest-related emissions, and adapting to the impacts of global warming." The most recent UNFCCC COP met in in Cancun, Mexico, in November/December 2010. COP-17 will take place in Durban, South Africa, in November/December 2011

[back to top]



  • biodiversity
  • carbon
  • carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • carbon capture and storage (CCS)
  • carbon sequestration
  • climate change
  • climate change mitigation
  • climate finance, climatic change
  • Conference of the Parties (COP)
  • Copenhagen Accord
  • deforestation
  • ecosystems
  • emissions
  • emissions reduction
  • fossil fuels
  • Global Environment Facility (GEF)
  • environmental degradation
  • environmental development
  • environmental stress
  • global warming
  • greenhouse gases
  • green development
  • green economy
  • green growth
  • green recovery
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • marine protection
  • reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)
  • renewables
  • sinks
  • sustainable development (when dealing with climate control)
  • United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing
  • alternative energy
  • "alternative" energies (geothermal, hydro, nuclear, solar)
  • clean energy
  • energy efficiency
  • energy technologies
  • energy security 

[back to top]

Coding Rules

The unit of analysis is the paragraph or sentence.
There must be a direct reference to climate change or a cognate term.
Cognate or extended terms can be used without a direct reference to "climate change" if they have previously been directly associated together in summit document history.

[back to top]

Conclusions on Climate Change in G20 Summit Documents

2008 Washington Summit

Declaration of the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy

Commitment to an Open Global Economy
15. We remain committed to addressing other critical challenges such as energy security and climate change, food security, the rule of law, and the fight against terrorism, poverty and disease.

Reform of International Financial Institutions
We should explore ways to restore emerging and developing countries' access to credit and resume private capital flows which are critical for sustainable growth and development, including ongoing infrastructure investment.

[back to top]

2009 London Summit

Global Action Plan for Recovery and Reform

4. We have today therefore pledged to do whatever is necessary to:
…build an inclusive, green, and sustainable recovery.

Ensuring a Fair and Sustainable Recovery for All
28. We reaffirm our commitment to address the threat of irreversible climate change, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and to reach agreement at the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.

[back to top]

2009 Pittsburgh Summit

The Leaders Statement: The Pittsburgh Summit

21. We stressed the importance of adopting a dynamic formula at the World Bank which primarily reflects countries’ evolving economic weight and the World Bank’s development mission, and that generates an increase of at least 3% of voting power for developing and transition countries, to the benefit of under-represented countries. While recognizing that over-represented countries will make a contribution, it will be important to protect the voting power of the smallest poor countries. We called on the World Bank to play a leading role in responding to problems whose nature requires globally coordinated action, such as climate change and food security, and agreed that the World Bank and the regional development banks should have sufficient resources to address these challenges and fulfill their mandates.

24. To phase out and rationalize over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while providing targeted support for the poorest. Inefficient fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption, reduce our energy security, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with the threat of climate change.

27. To maintain our openness and move toward greener, more sustainable growth.

29. We will spare no effort to reach agreement in Copenhagen through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.

Modernizing Our Global Institutions to Reflect Today’s Global Economy
17. Modernizing the international financial institutions and global development architecture is essential to our efforts to promote global financial stability, foster sustainable development, and lift the lives of the poorest. We warmly welcome Prime Minister Brown’s report on his review of the responsiveness and adaptability of the international financial institutions (IFIs) and ask our Finance Ministers to consider its conclusions.

Reforming the Mission, Mandate and Governance of Our Development Banks
24. We agree that development and reducing global poverty are central to the development banks’ core mission. The World Bank and other multilateral development banks are also critical to our ability to act together to address challenges, such as climate change and food security, which are global in nature and require globally coordinated action. The World Bank, working with the regional development banks and other international organizations, should strengthen:

Energy Security and Climate Change
29. Enhancing our energy efficiency can play an important, positive role in promoting energy security and fighting climate change. Inefficient fossil fuel subsidies encourage wasteful consumption, distort markets, impede investment in clean energy sources and undermine efforts to deal with climate change. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the IEA have found that eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 by ten percent. Many countries are reducing fossil fuel subsidies while preventing adverse impact on the poorest. Building on these efforts and recognizing the challenges of populations suffering from energy poverty, we commit to:

31. Increasing clean and renewable energy supplies, improving energy efficiency, and promoting conservation are critical steps to protect our environment, promote sustainable growth and address the threat of climate change. Accelerated adoption of economically sound clean and renewable energy technology and energy efficiency measures diversifies our energy supplies and strengthens our energy security. We commit to:

32. As leaders of the world’s major economies, we are working for a resilient, sustainable, and green recovery. We underscore anew our resolve to take strong action to address the threat of dangerous climate change. We reaffirm the objective, provisions, and principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including common but differentiated responsibilities. We note the principles endorsed by Leaders at the Major Economies Forum in L’Aquila, Italy. We will intensify our efforts, in cooperation with other parties, to reach agreement in Copenhagen through the UNFCCC negotiation. An agreement must include mitigation, adaptation, technology, and financing.

33. We welcome the work of the Finance Ministers and direct them to report back at their next meeting with a range of possible options for climate change financing to be provided as a resource to be considered in the UNFCCC negotiations at Copenhagen.

[back to top]

This Information System is provided by the University of Toronto Library
and the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto.
Please send comments to: g20@utoronto.ca
This page was last updated February 22, 2011 .

All contents copyright © 2022. University of Toronto unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.