The Secretary-General of the OECD has hailed the climate change agreement between China and the United States as “great, great news”.

Mr Angel Gurria, from Mexico, was speaking at a Pre G20 Summit Conference at Brisbane City Hall, hosted by Griffith University and the University of Toronto’s G20 Research Group.

“The deal is the best news around the G20 today,” he said during an engrossing and often entertaining 30-minute keynote address.

“If we do not take care of the environment we are in danger of a 6% drop in the potential GDP of many countries. And once more it would be the poorest that would be most severely affected in such a situation.”

During a speech that covered structural reforms, economic growth projections, the exchange of tax information and the spectre of youth unemployment among G20 nations, Mr Gurria ultimately focused on potential deliverables from this weekend’s G20 Leaders Summit.

“This G20 summit could allow us to design and deliver better policies for better lives,” he said.

Earlier, the two-day conference was opened by Professor Ian O’Connor, Vice Chancellor Griffith University, with Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk.

Professor O’Connor congratulated the Lord Mayor on his leadership and the way he had enhanced Brisbane’s connections worldwide in the build-up to the G20.

“Griffith University’s interest is in the substance of the summit agenda and stimulating debate about the G20 in the local community,” he said.

The Lord Mayor highlighted Griffith’s initiatives and endeavours in reaching out to the broader Brisbane community, saying: “The G20 has been an opportunity for our city to be better known around the world.”

He also spoke about his hopes for any plans that emanate from the G20 Summit to be recalled in the future as a Brisbane Action Plan.

Professor Russell Trood, chair of Griffith’s G20 Taskforce, described the G20 agenda as an ambitious one.

“And so it should be. This Brisbane summit could be one of ground-breaking and historic importance,” he said.

The highlight of day two of the Pre G20 Summit Conference will be a keynote address by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.