Darling urges action on climate change

Author: By Joe Quinn, PA

He issued his plea at the start of a meeting of G20 finance ministers gathered
in St Andrews, Fife.

The Chancellor also urged them not to hold back on efforts to put economies
back on a growth track.

As he delivered his climate change warning, protesters gathered in St Andrews.

Mr Darling told his fellow finance ministers the first session of their
gathering would be devoted to climate change.

“This is an urgent problem,” he told them.

“Just as it took a crisis to get countries to come together 12 months ago, I
hope that now we can show the same degree of commitment and urgency to try
to deal with this problem.

“I’m perfectly well aware that round this table there are different views –
there are arguments we need to have, discussions that need to take place,
and some tough negotiating.

“But it really is imperative that when we reach the end of the day, that we
have shown that we have made some real progress in dealing with what is a
real and urgent problem.”

Mr Darling said every effort would be made to reach agreement in advance of
the Copenhagen climate summit in December.

And he warned: “It is really important that we as finance ministers are
engaged in this.

“If there isn’t an agreement on finance. If there isn’t an agreement about
contributions to make sure we can deal with this problem, the Copenhagen
agreement is going to be much more difficult.”

The finance ministers sat at tables arranged in a hollow square, with
officials and deputies behind them.

The seating arrangements put the Chancellor and Bank of England governor
Mervyn King directly opposite to and face to face with their US counterparts
Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke.

Opening the session, Mr Darling said economic growth would be discussed later
today.

Until confidence levels had returned there was still much uncertainty and
risks that needed to be negotiated, he said.

But Mr Darling told his fellow finance ministers: “Just as we have shown in
the last 12 months that we can make a real difference when we are determined
to do so, I think we also need to agree a framework that will allow us to
ensure over the next decade, because with growth will come jobs and the
prosperity upon which the people we represent depend.”

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