Controversy arises from G7's climate decisions
Group of Seven (G7) met from 26-28 June in the beautiful Alps of Germany
G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, The UK, and The USA
Inflation, energy crisis, and climate were on the agenda
G7 will form a ‘climate club’ among member states.
Critics are not happy with the outcome of the Summit.
While the world’s powerful economies, Group of Seven (G7) met at the Bavarian Alps for their yearly meeting, Greenpeace activists placed a peace symbol made of more than 300 burning candles at an altitude of 1,600 meters near Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The fire was in the shape of a peace sign with a diameter of 60 meters.
Not far from Elmau Schloss— a luxury hotel where the summit was happening, about 3,500 protestors gathered in Munich to show their unification in the fight against climate change. They protested against the lack of adequate G7 action on issues, such as the phaseout of fossil fuels, preservation of biodiversity, and the fight against global hunger. Some signs read- ‘Stop burning our planet’. Germany had just suffered from a heat wave a week ago, and people had not forgotten that.
G7 leaders are facing enormous criticism for their weakening action to meet climate targets as they revived their interest and gave green signals to fossil fuel investment. Public pressure is enormous, as well as from companies who expressed concern about continued uncertainty over future regulations to help progress towards ambitious net-zero emissions goals.
As the world leaders were preparing to meet, major global companies wrote an open letter, urging leaders to step up their actions to tackle climate change at the G7 summit. In the letter, more than a dozen large corporations pleaded for ambitious government climate policies, including calling for large-scale carbon pricing and boosting clean technology.
Although G7 leaders are facing a challenging fusion of energy security, food supplies, inflation, climate target, and the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue that dominated the summit was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has brought turbulence to the world’s market since COVID-19.
Being forced to shut down their dependence on Russian gas, many European countries, including Germany, are increasing their coal power usage, trying to patch ‘hopefully’ a short-lived energy crisis. Confronting the consequences of the war in Ukraine, global energy markets, and climate targets— the world leaders had enough on their plate to discuss.
Read: 'Green' Gas And Nuclear Could Divide The EU
What Was Discussed?
The G7 leaders remained committed to the Paris Climate Agreement and decided to address the climate crisis through the Energy Partnerships, the Global Climate Risk Shield, and the Climate Club. However, they agreed to accept some fossil gas projects to reduce dependency on Russian energy. The summit also welcomed several developing countries and emerging economies from the G20 club to help them speed up their effort in the green energy transition.
‘While taking immediate action to secure energy supply and stop the increases in energy prices driven by extraordinary market conditions, we will not compromise our climate and biodiversity goals including the energy transition’— G7 leaders' communiqué
Support for the efficient public gas sector projects. While the G7 countries are strongly in favor of eliminating inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, as agreed at last year’s COP26, German Chancellor Scholz emphasized the need for foreign gas projects in the current situation. The plan is to help countries invest in their energy supply as long as they are efficient and within the target of the Paris Agreement.
'Climate Club' by the end of 2022. The G7 announced a Chancellor Scholz-led plan to establish a climate club by the end of this year, built on three pillars: climate mitigation, industry decarbonization, and boosting international partnerships and cooperation. The club would set joint rules and standards, and work as a supportive medium to help the members implement the Paris Agreement. A hope is that this club will accelerate climate action and address the risks of carbon leakage for emission-intensive goods while complying with international rules.
Energy Transition Partnerships. The G7 launched 'beyond G7' partnerships with a promise of USD 600 billion for sustainable infrastructure projects in low and mid-income countries. Following a joint session with Indonesia, India, South Africa, Argentina, and Senegal, the current chair of the African Union as the guests at the summit, the G7 leaders set up Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETP) that will help these countries to transit toward clean energy. However, negotiations with Indonesia, India, Senegal, and Vietnam are still going on, and it will take some time to announce clear action-oriented JETP.
Temporary price caps on oil and gas imports from Russia. This will work as one of the solutions to slow down the energy price hike as it has happened over recent months. This cap, in a way, will work as a sanction on Russia, as the G7 vows “no end” to sanction until Russia backs away from the war. Additionally, it balances and ties together the financial services, insurance, and oil cargoes from price fluctuations. However, some experts have warned that the plan could backfire. In response, Russia could reduce energy exports, which would hike the price.
Support to developing countries with USD 100 billion annually. This is a promise they made a long time ago. This amount will support developing countries' fight against climate change. In addition, the G7 will scale up climate and disaster risk finance and insurance and build a “Global Shield” against climate risks. More details about this will come along at COP27.
Read: What Does It Cost To End Climate Crisis?
Done But Not Enough
Earlier this month, development ministers from the G7 highlighted the importance of protecting and restoring ecosystems to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to keep the 1.5°C temperature. The ministers condemned the Russian Federation’s unjustifiable, unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine and expressed concern about the rising global food insecurity and food price inflation.
Since that meeting, the heating oil, gas, and food, everything has become more expensive and has no sign of stopping. For G7, with too many urgent issues, this was supposed to be one of the most awaited summits and undeniably an opportunity to address them with concrete plans.
As the world eagerly waited to hear what the top seven economies of the world decide, Chancellor Scholz started the summit by saying "We won't move mountains"— hinting to expect lower from the meeting.
Indeed, many observers found the climate topic the weakest outcome.
“Scholz has failed to initiate the turning point for climate protection in Elmau and there is a lack of clear resolutions to phase out coal and a phase-out date for combustion cars by 2030 and for gas by 2035.”— Greenpeace Germany executive director Martin Kaiser
In conclusion, G7 showed what they wanted to show— a unity of influential western economies to Russia. However, for many, this summit failed to create a speed-up opportunity to end fossil fuel adoption and commence a new beginning in climate policy. The summit dropped the mike without an urgent clarification of timelines and investment criteria.
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