Ministers gear up for G20 summit

By Emmeline Saunders

With less than 24 hours to go, finance ministers are gearing up for this weekend’s G20 talks hosted by chancellor Alastair Darling.

The “Group of Twenty”, comprising ministers from the world’s leading economies, will meet at St Andrew’s in Scotland to discuss tackling climate change.

Mr Darling said climate change was a “present problem” requiring billions of pounds to be pledged to challenge it, and ministers should “get on with it”.

He said: “We either take action and stop those problems happening or we fail to take action and we face bigger costs down the line.

“My message to my fellow finance ministers is there’s a job of work to be done here. I don’t think anyone seriously denies there’s a problem here. Let’s get on with it,” he added.

Also on the summit’s agenda is the issue of economic recovery. This G20 meeting is the latest in a series which led to a $1 trillion fiscal stimulus programme to tackle the global recession.

Attention will be drawn to the need to create a review process to narrow the budget, trade and consumption gaps.
The group is expected to agree not to pull the plug on emergency support for the global economy, and to launch a series of checks and balances to support world growth and help prevent future financial catastrophe.

Environmental activists are expected to protest this weekend with a main demonstration tomorrow by a coalition of students and anti-war campaigners.

An alternative “people’s G20” will be held on Saturday.