G-20 summit opens in Australia; growth tops agenda
Brisbane: As G-20 summit host Brisbane sweltered through a blistering heat wave, world leaders on Saturday got down to the business of cementing plans to drag a sagging global economy out of the doldrums.
The leaders of the world's 20 largest economies are under pressure to take definitive action at this year's summit, rather than simply producing a set of vague, unmeasurable goals. The International Monetary Fund has warned about a “new mediocre” for the world economy, and the G-20 has vowed to focus on a plan to add $2 trillion to world GDP.
U.S. President Barack Obama touched down in Brisbane early Saturday to join the other leaders, with talks scheduled to begin in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the thousands of delegates and media that have descended upon the capital of Queensland, which is aptly dubbed the “Sunshine State,” have been greeted by a crushing heat wave, with temperatures expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit).
Some of the sweat-stained police officers blanketing the city by the thousands have taken to dumping bottles of water on themselves to cope with the blazing sun. More than two dozen protests have been planned to coincide with the event, on everything from inequality to corporate tax evasion to Aboriginal rights.
The summit will conclude on Sunday with the release of an official communique, a rundown of what the countries have achieved and want to achieve in the future. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has repeatedly stressed that the main focus of the gathering is to show progress on a previously-announced plan of lifting the global GDP by 2 percent above predicted levels by 2018.
Each country is expected to present a comprehensive plan at the summit on how they will achieve that goal, but whether the communique will reveal any of those details is unclear. The G-20 nations represent about 85 percent of world GDP.