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G20: Plans and Prospects

Jenilee Guebert
Senior Researcher, G8 Research Group
April 9, 2008


This report on "G20: Plans and Prospects" is compiled by the G20 Research Group largely from public sources as an aid to researchers and other stakeholders interested in the G20. It will be updated periodically as plans for the G20 evolve. Note that this document refers to the G8-related G20 institutions (as opposed to, for example, the G20 related to the World Trade Organization agricultural negotiations).


Introduction: G20

The Group of Twenty (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors was established in 1999 in the area of finance. Here participants from both industrialized and developing countries gather annually at the ministerial level to discuss key issues in the global economy. The first G20 gathering, hosted by Germany and Canada, occurred in Berlin on December 15-16, 1999. The work of the G20 finance group has led to discussions of other "20" groups. Since 2005, 20 ministers from the fields of environment and energy have met in Japan to discuss the issues associated with global warming.

On the margins of the 2008 G8 Summit in Japan in July, a gathering of the Major Economies Meeting of 16 members (MEM-16) at the summit level is likely, following official level meetings starting in 2007.

Former Canadian prime minister Paul Martin advocated for a "Leaders 20" (L20) forum, but nothing of its kind has yet been established.

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What's New

2008 G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, Salvador, Brazil, November 8-9, 2008

Themes and Agenda

Brazil has proposed that the 2008 G20 finance meeting focus on Competition in Financial Markets, Clean Energy and Economic Development and Fiscal Elements of Growth and Development, according to the G20 website.1 (March 20, 2008, Official G20 Website)

Preparatory Meetings

The following meetings have been and are to be held in preparation for the 2008 G20 finance meetings in Brazil in 2008:

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Sovereign Wealth Funds

When asked about whether the G7 is also still relevant, U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David McCormick said the cooperation in dealing with financial market turbulence demonstrates its relevance, but that the group needs to continue to evolve to make sure it stays that way. The G20 is also taking on greater significance, he said, noting that the debate over sovereign wealth funds requires a broader discussion than just the G7.3 (February 25, 2008, Dow Jones Capital Markets Report)

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International Financial Architecture

Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, said he welcomed the growing role of emerging Asian economies in financial forums such as the G7, G20 and the International Monetary Fund. "This means that they also have more responsibilities in the global arena and that the rules of the game need to adapt to keep pace."4 (February 25, 2008, Reuters News)

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G20 Environment and Energy Ministers Meeting

The 'G20' environment and energy minister agreed to draft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol at their meeting in Japan on March 14-16; however they remained divided on the roles the individual countries should play. "We reconfirmed the principle of common by differentiated responsibility in negotiating the next deal for 2013 and onward," said Japan's Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita. Developing countries, however, continued to insist that they should not be held to the same standards as developed countries.5 (March 17, 2008, GreenWire)

"The G20 meeting turned out to be very successful," said Ichiro Kamoshita, Japan's environment minister who co-chaired the talks, noting that the momentum created in Bali has been reinforced. "Although some points in the discussions were not heading in the same direction," Kamoshita said it was meaningful for countries with conflicts of interest to sit around the same table before a new round of UN climate talks begins at the end of this month in Bangkok. The fourth ministerial meeting of the G8 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development was also the first ministerial-level event in Japan related to this year's G8. Kamoshita and Akira Amari, the Japanese industry minister who was the other co-chair, said it became clear what kind of role Japan needs to play in preparing for the upcoming summit after hearing a wide range of opinions both from developed and developing countries on how to craft a functioning successor to the Kyoto accord after it expires in 2012. Even though still somewhat controversial, the Japanese government wants to make the 'sectoral' approach one of the main points for discussion at the summit. By identifying high-emitting industrial sectors internationally, calculating each sector's CO2 reduction potential and combining them, Japan believes this method, dubbed a "bottom-up" sectoral approach, would eventually lead to a quantified national target. A senior Japanese official indicated that Japan plans to propose during the summit that a similar dialogue process involving the 20 countries continue. "We felt that the G20 should play some kind of role," the official said. "We will officially file the proposal at a relevant stage."6 (March 16, 2008, BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific)

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari said during a meeting at the mid-March G20 gathering with Marthinus van Schalkwyk, South Africa's minister of environmental affairs and tourism, that a sectoral approach would be an effective tool for developing countries as it will boost energy security and lead to an improvement in energy efficiency and reductions in carbon dioxide, just like "killing three birds with one stone."7 (March 16, 2008, Kyodo News)

Japan is planning to propose at the G8 summit in July that the dialogue process involving 20 major carbon-emitting countries continue, according to a senior Japanese official. "We felt that the G20 should play some kind of role"' to bolster UN negotiations for a new carbon-capping framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol beyond its expiration in 2012, the official told reporters after the two-day G20 ministerial meeting in Chiba. The meeting was to be the last of its kind, initiated by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005. "We will officially file the proposal at a relevant stage," the official said, hinting that Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will do it at the G8 summit. Japan plans to host a workshop in May including scientists from Japan and abroad to discuss potential emissions reduction levels using the Tokyo-proposed sectoral approach to rein in emissions by Japan and other economies, the official said. At the Chiba meeting of the G8 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development, G20 ministers and officials discussed whether to continue this sort of dialogue on climate change in a different format after its final report to be submitted to the July G8 summit. The G20 countries are responsible for about 80 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.8 (March 16, 2008, Kyodo News)

Mid-March, the world's top 20 greenhouse gas emitters met with the aim of coming up with a draft chairman's summary to be presented to July's summit of the G8 in northern Japan. Divisions between developed and developing countries remained throughout the negotiations.9 (March 15, 2008, Agence France Presse)

G20 nations ranging from top carbon emitters the United States and China to big developing economies Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa held three days of talks near Tokyo to discuss ways to tackle rapidly rising emissions. While many individuals appeared happy with the way the talks were evolving, other still had concerns. Some G20 members and delegates voiced concern over Japan's proposal for sectoral caps for polluting industries. Japan wants top greenhouse gas emitting nations to assign near-term emissions targets for each industrial sector which, added up, would then form a national target. But it was unclear if this target was mandatory or voluntary and developing nations said the scheme needed to take into account their individual circumstances.10 (March 15, 2008, Reuters News)

The world's 20 biggest greenhouse gas emitters are to hold climate change talks in Japan on March 14-16, 2008 in a bid to push forward slow-moving negotiations to draft the Kyoto Protocol's successor. Former British prime minister Tony Blair was slated to address the so-called "Group of 20" dialogue at an opening session in the Tokyo suburb of Makuhari. Blair launched the G20 dialogue (officially called "G8 Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development") in 2005 when he hosted the G8 summit in Gleneagles. The 2008 meeting is the fourth dialogue. "The biggest advantage of the G20 meeting is the opportunity for talks at a completely global level compared with those on Kyoto," said Japanese Trade Minister Akira Amari, who will co-chair the meeting. It is important to make developing countries "understand that there is an approach [to tackling climate change] that would not sacrifice their growth," Amari said. "The initial purpose of the G20 was to draw a post-Kyoto plan which involves both the United States and developing countries," a senior Japanese foreign ministry official said. "Now that the United States is back in the UN framework, the G20 will need to focus on specifics of how to build a post-Kyoto framework," he added. The meeting was to have three main topics: finding technologies for energy efficiency, financing ways for developing countries to adopt such technologies and coming up with a post-Kyoto framework. The findings are to be reported at the G8 summit in July.11 (March 12, 2008, Agence France Presse)

Environment and energy ministers of G20 countries and the EU will meet in the Makuhari district of Chiba, east of Tokyo, March 14 to 16 to discuss the problem of global warming, according to Japan's Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The ministers will exchange opinions about a new framework that will succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change that is set to expire in 2012. These G20 nations include the United States and China. Environment Minister Ichiro Kamoshita and Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari will jointly chair the meeting. They plan to insist on the need to have major greenhouse gas emitters like the United States, China and India join the post-Kyoto framework and stress the importance of cutting emissions by improving energy efficiency. Japan will report the outcome of this G20 meeting at the G8 summit in July.12 (February 28, 2008, Jiji Press English News Service)

At the G20 meeting, issues such as global warming and climate change will be discussed by environment and energy ministers of the world's 20 major greenhouse gas emitting nations as well as representatives from relevant international organizations, industries, NGOs and NPOs.13 (February 5, 2008, Ministry of the Environment: Government of Japan)

The Japanese government will host a meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue in March 2008. "The Japanese Government has set out objectives in terms of progress towards a stabilization goal, and agreement on the need for improving energy efficiency and scaling up financing."14 (September 28, 2007, The Korea Herald)

From September 9-11, 2007, "the energy and environment ministers from the 20 major energy-consuming countries will meet in Berlin for the third 'Gleneagles Dialogue.' Following the meeting in Berlin, another conference is to be held in Japan in the spring of 2008. The results of the Gleneagles Dialogue will be reported at the 2008 G8 Summit under the Japanese presidency."15 (September 9, 2007, The Press and Information Office of the Federal Government of Germany)

A G20 conference on global warming and clean energy will be held in Tokyo.16 (May 10, 2007, Associated Press Newswires)

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G20 Finance and Central Bank Ministerials, 1999-2008

Members

Argentina
Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
European Union
France
Germany
India
Indonesia
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Russia
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
South Korea
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States
International Monetary Fund
International Monetary Financial Committee
Development Committee (IMF)
World Bank

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and the President of the World Bank also participate. The chairs of the International Monetary and Financial Committee and Development Committee of the IMF and World Bank also participate on an ex-officio basis.

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Meetings

Year Date Location Chair
1999 December 15-16 Berlin, Germany Canada
2000 October 25 Montreal, Canada Canada
2001 November 16-17 Ottawa, Canada Canada
2002 November 23 New Delhi, India India
2003 October 26-27 Morelia, Mexico Mexico
2004 November 20-21 Berlin, Germany Germany
2005 October 15-16 Xianghe, Hebei, China China
2006 November 18-19 Melbourne, Australia Australia
2007 November 17-18 Cape Town, South Africa South Africa
2008 November 8-9 Salvador, Brazil Brazil
2009 United Kingdom United Kingdom

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G20 Environment and Energy Ministerials

Members

Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
European Union
France
Germany
India
Indonesia
Italy
Iran
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Poland
Russia
South Africa
Spain
United Kingdom
United States
World Bank
International Energy Agency
Nongovernmental organizations

17(March 15, 2008, Reuters News)

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Meetings

Year Date Location
2005 October 31-November 1 London, United Kingdom
2006 October 2-4 Monterrey City, Mexico
2007 September 9-11 Berlin, Germany
2008 March 14-16 Chiba City, Japan

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Major Emitters Meeting-16

Members

Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
France
Germany
India
Indonesia
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Russia
South Africa
South Korea
United Kingdom
United States
European Union and Commission*
United Nations*

*Not considered part of the "16."

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Meetings

Year Date Location
2007 September 27-28 Washington DC, U.S.
2008 January 30-31 Honolulu, U.S.
2008 April Paris, France
2008 July Japan

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Notes

1 Official G-20 Website (Accessed March 20, 2008), "Welcome from Brazil." <www.g20.org/G20/>

2 Official G-20 Website (Accessed March 20, 2008), "About G-20: Meetings and activities." <www.g20.org/G20/>

3 Dow Jones Capital Markets Report (February 25, 2008), "Tsy's McCormick: US Supports IMF Gold Sale Plan."

4 Reuters News (February 25, 2008), "ECB's Trichet: Asian dynamism key to world growth."

5 GreenWire (March 17, 2008), "World leaders disagree on climate change goals."

6 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific (March 16, 2008), "Japanese co-chair pronounces post-Kyoto talks a success."

7 Kyodo News (March 16, 2008), "Japan preparing to allay worries over Tokyo-led carbon-cap method."

8 Kyodo News (March 16, 2008), "Japan eyeing proposing continuation of G-20 process in July."

9 Agence France Presse (March 15, 2008), "Rich, poor nations clash at climate talks."

10 Reuters News (March 15, 2008), "G20 backs climate fight, argues over industry caps."

11 Agence France Presse (March 12, 2008), "20 biggest polluters seek progress on warming."

12 Jiji Press English News Service (February 28, 2008), "Japan to Host G-20 Meeting on Global Warming March 14-16."

13 Ministry of the Environment: Government of Japan (February 5, 2008), "Chiba Gleneagles Dialogue 2008," (Accessed February 15, 2008), Available from: <www.env.go.jp/earth/g8/en/g20/index.html>

14 The Korea Herald (September 28, 2007), "EU proposes 30% emission cut by 2020."

15 The Press and Information Office of the Federal Government of Germany (September 9, 2007), "Gleneagles Dialogue - Third meeting of the Energy and Environment Ministers."

16 Associated Press Newswires (May 10, 2007), "Japan picks far-flung cities for ministerial meetings during 2008 G8 summit."

17 Reuters News (March 15, 2008), "Factbox-Why are the world's top emitters meeting in Tokyo?"

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Earlier Versions


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