Updated: Apr 17
G7 leaders pose for "family photo" ahead of first day of summit ᶦ
Leaders from some of the world’s most advanced economies met this past June to discuss global issues at the G7 summit. The 7 countries of the G7 consists of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Germany. In addition to the 7, leaders from the EU, India, Australia and South Korea were invited to attend. This year’s meetings began on the 11th of June and concluded on the 13th, taking place in the picturesque Carbis Bay, Cornwall. Alongside the pandemic, the climate crisis was a major point of discussion at the summit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted a picture of himself arriving in Cornwall in a private plane, captioned: “beating the pandemic and building back better, fairer and greener.” The irony of this tweet was not lost on the British public. Rather than making the 250-mile journey by train, the PM instead opted to fly which, according to the government’s own figures, produces almost 5 times the greenhouse gas emissions.ᶦᶦ
In their 25-page communique, the leaders outlined their agenda and the key points from the meeting. In regard to the climate crisis, the leaders spoke of a “green revolution”. The aim is to limit global warming to a 1.5ºC temperature rise. Another promise to achieve net-zero
carbon emissions by 2050 was made as well as commitments to land and oceanic conservation. Over a decade ago, the 7 pledged to raise $100 billion a year to assist poorer developing countries transition to greener practices by 2020.ᶦᶦᶦ Partly due to the pandemic, this target was not met and has now been extended to 2025. Furthermore, the leaders plan to end coal burning in their respective nations while also putting an end to financing coal abroad.
Climate activists have been critical of the G7’s vague commitments and assert that a more detailed plan of action is needed to tackle the crisis. The public reception has grown generally tired of the redundant overuse of promises to achieve ‘net-zero carbon emissions’ by some convoluted deadline. Progress has certainly been made at the Summit; however further action is undoubtedly needed. A problem as urgent and complex as climate change requires radical, yet well thought-out solutions. It is fair to suggest that the change proposed does not reflect the urgency and scale of the crisis. Politicians are perpetuating an ongoing cycle of extending deadlines for existing climate commitments, while simultaneously setting ambitious goals for set decades in the future.
World leaders will soon meet again to discuss the crisis at the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 which will be held in Glasgow November 2021. Environmental groups are cautiously optimistic as they await an opportunity for real progress to be made at yet another large international conference centred around climate change.
ᶦ Liptak K, G7 leaders pose for “family photo” ahead of first day of summit (11 June 2021, CNN) < https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/biden-g7-summit-updates-intl-06-11-2021/h_4e727b60dd604f695ab411f8006c2387 > 3 July 2021
ᶦᶦ Sky News, G7 summit: Boris Johnson defends taking private plane to Cornwall – as climate change set to be high on the agenda (21 June 2021, Sky News) < https://news.sky.com/story/g7-summit-boris-johnson-defends-taking-private-plane-to-cornwall-as-climate-change-set-to-be-high-on-the-agenda-12328897> 3 July 2021
ᶦᶦᶦ Harrabin R, Some progress made (13 June 2021, BBC News) < https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-57461670> 3 July 2021