What is missing from the G20 Leaders Summit agenda is arguably as noteworthy as the issues listed for high-level discussion.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s decision to resist calls to elevate climate change to the G20 table in November has confounded and troubled many observers, not least the Director of Griffith University’s Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise (APCSE).

Professor Jeremy Williams finds it difficult to understand how G20 leaders can discuss measures to accelerate global economic growth without simultaneously addressing how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.

APCSE’s response comes in the form of ‘Economic Growth, Climate Change and the G20’, a one-day conference to be hosted by the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on October 7.

“Climate change is the biggest emergency facing the global economy today. Ignoring it is not an option,” he said.

“What kind of economy can you have in a climate-constrained world? This is a major focus for the Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainable Enterprise and it is a crucial issue to be explored by leaders in the field at the conference.”

Former Liberal Party leader Dr John Hewson (Asset Owners Disclosure Project), Mara Bun (Green Cross Australia), Senator Larissa Waters (Australian Greens Senator for QLD) and Professor Clive Hamilton (Charles Sturt University) will be among the speakers attending, while US economist and director of The Earth Institute Jeffrey Sachs will also take part via video conference.

Leading climate change scientist at Griffith’s School of Natural Sciences, Professor Ian Lowe, will take part in the first of four panels on the day, to consider what future generations might say about the economic growth strategies of the G20 in the early 21st century.

The other panels will discuss economic growth in a climate-constrained world, capital markets and stranded assets, and the opportunities for sustainable enterprise arising from the need for climate adaptation.

Registration reached full capacity more than four weeks before the conference.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest which is a clear indication of the urgency surrounding this issue. There has to be an intelligent conversation about economic growth and climate change,” Professor Williams said, “this conference will go some way to addressing this need.”

The conference is sponsored by bankmecu and Australian Ethical Investment.

Further details are available here.