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U-turn on climate change

21 November 2014


Harbinger: A protester against fossil fuels participates in a People's March held on the first day of the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane

Harbinger: A protester against fossil fuels participates in a People's March held on the first day of the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane

CLIMATE change was forced on to the agenda at this week's G20 meeting of world leaders in Brisbane, after sustained pressure from activists including churches and the intervention of President Obama, who used a speech to insist that the world must finalise a climate-change deal next year.

The worldwide campaign, Oceans of Justice, led by the Anglican Alliance, included a petition to the Australian government from the Anglican Communion, "gathered at the request of our brothers and sisters on the Pacific Islands, in Australia's neighbourhood, demanding action on climate change from the world's leaders".

The Australian Primate, Dr Philip Freier, had earlier echoed Pope Francis's call for the meeting to seek "real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families, and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality". Failure to address these issues of economic security and justice, Dr Freier said, would lead to more international conflict, and reduce the possibility of human flourishing.

Australia - one of the world's biggest carbon emitters per head - was initially resistant to demands to put climate change formally on the agenda, but its Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, eventually agreed a final communiqué that included a call for strong and effective action at the UN climate conference in Paris next year.

The communiqué also committed world leaders to implementing action to stamp out tax evasion and lead to greater financial transparency.

The commitment was welcomed by Exposed, a coalition of Christian groups and churches which campaign against corruption.

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