Leaders of twenty of the world's largest economies have signaled their support for a new international agreement to address climate change. Earlier this month, at the conclusion of the G-20 meeting in Australia, the leaders issued a Statement summarizing the agreements reached over the course of the meeting. While strong, global economic growth for jobs and higher living standards remains their “highest priority,” the leaders pledged their support for “effective action to address climate change.”

The G-20 leaders acknowledged the importance and challenges of creating an international agreement to address the urgent matter of climate change. A few notable pledges made their way into the final Statement:

  • The leaders promised to work together to reach a binding agreement before the climate talks take place in Paris in 2015.  They called for all countries to publically state what they are prepared to commit to by the end of the first quarter of 2015. This means that all countries are expected to set – and announce - their own carbon emissions reduction targets soon. 
  • They agreed on the need to “phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” In the U.S., however, any action on these subsidies would require Congressional action, so President Obama’s embrace of this commitment is more symbolic than actual.
  • They agreed to push for financial support for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures – particularly the Green Climate Fund.

These pledges will be tested over the upcoming months as nations prepare their positions and commitments. We’ll be reporting on developments along the road to Paris over the next several months.