G20 taking bold steps on climate change and the coronavirus

Finance officials from the world’s 20 biggest economies (G20) meeting in Riyadh on Sunday reached agreement on the wording of a final communique that includes a reference to climate change for the first time, G20 diplomatic sources said.

Overcoming U.S. objections, the compromise language retained a reference to work by the Financial Stability Board to examine the implications of climate change on financial stability, although it dropped climate change from its list of downside risks to global economic growth.

One of the sources said it was the first time a reference to climate change had been included in a G20 finance communique, even though it was removed from the top of the joint statement.

G20 meeting in Saudi Arabia

G20 finance ministers and central bankers are meeting in the Saudi capital to discuss top global economic challenges, including the spread of the new coronavirus.

G20 officials completed work on the communique on Sunday morning. The final wording was not immediately available.

Delegates worked out a compromise after Washington objected to the initial proposed language, which had included “macroeconomic risk related to environmental stability” in a list of downside risks, two G20 diplomatic sources said.

The communique forecasts a modest pick-up in global growth this year and next, but cites downside risks to this outlook stemming from geopolitical and remaining trade tensions and policy uncertainty.