The G7 Summit is a governmental forum consisting of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, and the European Union. The leaders from these States have met together every year since 1977 to discuss global politics and initiatives. Furthermore, since 2005, climate change has been recognized and discussed by the G7. However, last year the Summit that was supposed to be hosted by the U.S. was canceled because of the pandemic.
With more vaccines becoming available to the public every day, the G7 Summit was successfully hosted at Cornwall in the United Kingdom two weeks ago. There was a lot of hope for the Summit to execute some meaningful climate action. Environmentalists everywhere hoped that the G7 would follow the U.K. in creating a defined plan for phasing out fossil fuels. The country now plans to phase out new cars by 2030. Unfortunately, no such plan was announced; the Summit provided little of the direct action that the people and scientists hoped for.
A report published by the World Meteorological Organization earlier this year warns that by 2025, which is in less than 4 years, there is a 40% chance that at least one year will be the 1.5 °C hotter we’ve been trying to avoid. Scientists warn that even with current pledges made by countries worldwide, we are still heading towards heating up by 3°C. Although a permanent breach above 1.5°C is still a decade or two away, we are quickly running out of time to make changes to prevent life as we know it to no longer be an option.
So although the leaders agreed that phasing out fossil fuels must be done, there were no direct terms set. The G7 did pledge to raise $100 billion a year to help less affluent countries transition away from fossil fuels. 40% of all global electricity is still generated using coal. However, this pledge was already made in 2009, and this target has not been met. The plan also creates a loophole for coal usage if it includes carbon capture technology. This should have been done as a step to phasing coal out rather than it being an exception. Although carbon capturing and carbon offsetting is better than nothing, these emissions should be prevented from being released at all.
Unfortunately, the G7 has a history of making promises during the Summits that lawmakers back home disagree with. Furthermore, none of the leaders spoke about improving their own commitments to reducing emissions at their respective countries. However, there is promise that these leaders at least have these actions on their minds. The U.K., the U.S., and Germany all will pledge millions to protect vulnerable communities from the effects of climate change. These leaders must go home from this Summit and implore their lawmakers to create the actionable steps to transition away from fossil fuels that this meeting missed. I just hope that all seven of these world powers put their money where their mouth is and help the rest of the world when the time comes.
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Photo: Mike Erskine on Unsplash