Global sympathy as leaders struggle to solve
planetary problems in extreme conditions

The G20 finance ministers are set to delay the implementation of tougher regulations for the world’s banks. As splits emerged over the scope of the new regulations, top sovereign money-men meeting in Busan, South Korea, acknowledged there were still big differences about Basle III, and thus took the tough decision not to rock the boat any further by tackling them.

This is a shame, as the disagreements are not that huge. They involve merely the scale, scope and timing of the increases in capital and liquidity that banks will be required to hold. Oh, and as well as the leverage they will be allowed.

In response to these splits, the UK and the US are generously offering – as the press release puts it – ‘to delay the implementation of the Basle reforms so as not to water them down’. Are we grateful or what?

Speaking after a particularly taxing G20 session, UK Chancellor George Osborne said languidly, “One of the things I will be pressing for is that the agreements reached last year on capital, leverage and liquidity are now concluded. We want an end to the uncertainty.”

Well George, an end to uncertainty is what we need.

In an unrelated incident, a Mr Noah said he had assessed the weather forecast, but that differences remained between his colleagues as to the scale, scope and timing of the increases in rainfall we might expect. Work on his proposed Ark project moved forward from the committee-based drawing-board space, so as not to water it down.