Thank goodness for the G-20 meetings, they are 2.5 time more exciting than the G-8 ones and they require more people to jet around pumping lots more Co2 into the atmosphere. After the latest lovefest in Pittsburgh it seems the global economy has been saved, the world is united in fighting global warming and Elvis was found serving drinks at one of the cocktail parties.
As usual most reporting from the G-20 leaders meeting consisted of journalists regurgitating what they were fed via media releases and press kits, while adding their own personal touches about the protests, the security measures and what Mrs Obama was wearing.
Generally speaking there was not much depth or breadth in the reporting from the Australian journalists who covered the meeting and so if journalists were really serious about climate change, they would draw straws and then send just one person to cover the event. Alternatively they could set off early and travel to these meetings by kayak and camel. The nation will survive while they are away.
When the world leaders gather at these G-20 meeting they turn in big political rallies where each world leader gets to say what a legend he is, backed up by other world leaders who all agree that they are all legends.
Nothing sums this up better than the Leaders Statement which this time around was full of praise for…well the leaders of course.
Leaders’ Statement: The Pittsburgh Summit
September 24 – 25, 2009
1. We meet in the midst of a critical transition from crisis to recovery to turn the page on an era of irresponsibility and to adopt a set of policies, regulations and reforms to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy.
2. When we last gathered in April, we confronted the greatest challenge to the world economy in our generation.
3. Global output was contracting at pace not seen since the 1930s. Trade was plummeting. Jobs were disappearing rapidly. Our people worried that the world was on the edge of a depression.
4. At that time, our countries agreed to do everything necessary to ensure recovery, to repair our financial systems and to maintain the global flow of capital.
5. It worked.
At this point I was choking on my beer and therefore I had to stop reading. To save time you could condense these first 5 points into “we are good, just ask us”. But there is more, much more and if you take suitable precautions (i.e. stay away from anything you might choke on) you can read the entire propaganda release (and others) from the Pittsburgh Summit 2009 media center. (there are even videos!)
But never fear, the G-20 leaders have pledged to fight protectionism, work to avoid boom & bust economic cycles, develop alternative energy sources and generally solve most of the world problems.
In other words, there is much more to do and since we are the people who saved you then you need to vote us back in (in the case of democracies) or don’t riot. (in the cases of China & Saudi Arabia)
What you won’t find the leaders talking about is the role politicians had in creating many of the causes of the global economic crisis nor do they mention how the countries racking up huge amounts of debt will ever manage to get this under control.
Of course at the G-20 level the theory connecting human activity and global warming is no longer a scientific theory, it is a fact. So this leaves the door wide open for many nations to bring in increased taxes via the back door.
Perhaps you may think I am too cynical but let me suggest that we will see the countries most concerned about debt being the first to rush in carbon & emissions trading schemes/taxes. Do you think China or Saudi Arabia will be rushing in any such schemes?
I am not an anti G-20 meeting guy when they are what they are supposed to be: Meetings of the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. But I do think they become overly politicised when the world leader attend and end up being a bit of waste of time. It seems one of the few growth areas in the global economy these days is in meetings of world leaders.
But the press loves these meetings and so when Kevin Rudd declared that the new focus on the G-20 was a historic day for Australia, the media all jumped on the bandwagon with him.
However the facts are that we have been in the G-20 for a while (we even had one of the meeting here in Australia in 2006) and so if the G-20 does some how replace the G-8 isn’t it actually a historic day for other 12 nations who were outside the G-8 as well? Actually is it really such a big deal anyway?
But according to our media it’s a “historic day for Australia”, because they say Kev07 has been arguing for a long time that the G-20 should be the premier global economic meeting. Why do they know this..because Kev told them so and they could not be bothered to check how many other nations in the G-20 have been asking for the same thing for many years.
The fact is that the G-20 is getting extra focus because that is where China is and it looks pretty stupid for the G-8 to pretend they can save the planet unless China is at the table.
But this has not stopped Kevin Rudd claiming credit for something he had little influence over and thus his ego moves up a few more notches, ably assisted by the never-questioning journalists who follow him around the globe.
So why am I so critical of the G-20 world leaders gatherings? Well because I wonder:
- Was it really necessary to have so many people gathered in Pittsburgh for the meeting or could have much of the work been achieved by video conferences?
- How leaders can talk about global warming while leaving huge carbon footprints all over the planet. (this is a bit like people flying first class to see the poor starving children in Africa)
- Who will ever track how many of the grand plans announced at this G-20 meeting will ever amount to anything? Who is watching the G-20?
- Why did the meeting look more like a political rally than a work event?
- If the G-20 stands for greater financial transparency where is the data on the effectiveness of the government economic stimulus measures implemented so far? Any return on investment data available perhaps? How much of the funds have been wasted due to poor management and corruption, or is it only the private sector that is questioned these days?
Finally why should we care what Hugh Jackman has to say about global warming? The guy can sure sing and dance but a scientist he ain’t. For me a sign we are in media managed circus is when actors, musicians and other assorted celebrities are lined up for photo opportunities with world leaders.
Well I guess it could be worse, we could have another Australia 2020 Summit!