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G20’s agenda can’t ignore climate change, business leaders say

Business leaders are urging G20 to put climate change back on the agenda.
Business leaders are urging G20 to put climate change back on the agenda. AP Photo/Jim Cole, File

Business executives and scientists on Tuesday urged the world’s leading economies to put global warming back on the G20 agenda after finance ministers and central bankers failed to reaffirm their readiness to finance measures against climate change.

The G20’s outreach organizations for business (B20), think tanks (T20) and civil society groups (C20) urged the Group of 20 leading economies in a joint statement to take fast and fundamental action to counter rising temperatures.

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“Climate change represents one of the largest risks to sustainable development, inclusiveness, equitable economic growth and financial stability,” the statement said.

“We need to be sure that (G20 leaders) will fulfill existing international climate-related commitments, foremost the Paris Agreement,” it said.

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The statement was signed by B20 chair Kurt Bock, who is also CEO of chemicals group BASF, and several leading scientists, including Ottmar Edenhofer from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change.

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It came after G20 financial leaders – under pressure from the United States – dropped from their communique a reference about willingness to finance measures to combat climate change as agreed in Paris in 2015.

The business leaders and scientists welcomed Germany’s continued leadership on the issue as rotating president of the G20.

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U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested global warming is a “hoax” concocted by China to hurt U.S. industry and vowed during his election campaign to scrap the Paris climate accord aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

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Trump’s administration has proposed a 31 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.

Reporting by Gernot Heller and Michael Nienaber; editing by Ralph Boulton