Today the official G20 Summit got underway with leaders treated to a warm welcome.

But that didn’t stop them from raising the climate change agenda.

Whitney Angell reports.


A crowd of media and bystanders were outside State parliament today to watch world leaders, including Russia’s Vladimir Putin arrive.

Speaking at the G20 leader’s retreat, Prime Minister Tony Abbott reminded them they have a heavy responsibility to achieve economic change.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “That’s what I would like the discussion to do, to focus on the politics of economic reform, in the end though this is your retreat, it is open to any of you to raise any subject that you wish.”

And raise them they did.

Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary General: “Of course climate change is the defining issue of our times, it’s only natural that G20 leaders should focus more on this.”

An issue reinforced by President Barack Obama in his Brisbane speech, pledging US$3 billion to The UN Green Climate Fund.

Later at today’s official welcome, leaders were treated to a cultural display.

The much-anticipated meeting between Mr Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin was much friendlier than expected.

Both smiled and chatted briefly.

U.S. President Barack Obama was the last leader to be greeted, again with smiles and a handshake.

Leaders then entered the summit meeting room and it was down to official business.

But last night one leader enjoyed some Caxton St hospitality.

Europe’s most powerful woman, Angela Merkel, was happy to shake hands with locals and take selfies before popping into a bar for a beer.

Whitney Angell, QUT News.