Climate was on the agenda for this year’s G7 summit – and on the lips of the political commentators, experts and activists who came to Cornwall. Leaders Expectations Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France and Italy as well as the European Union were high. And according to experts – they did not adhere to it. Now, hard diplomatic work is needed to ensure that this fall’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – with nearly every country in the world in attendance – does not fail in the fall.
“The results of the Cornwall Summit show that the G7 leaders are unable to deal with the crises facing the world: a historic pandemic that has killed four million people so far and threatens billions, especially the largely unvaccinated population of the Global South,” said Tasnim Esop, Executive Director For the Climate Action Network, the increasingly devastating effects of climate change are associated with dependence on fossil fuels, including oil and gas. He described the leaders’ actions as “short-sighted and selfish”. According to Rachel Kyte, dean of the Tufts Fletcher School and a former UN special envoy on climate, “the G7 leaders gave us an old pie.”
Everything looks good from the outside, but the details are very few on the inside. I assessed that details are important, especially in circumstances of low trust. In her view, the G7 countries should seize every opportunity to build confidence and ensure the success of the COP26 summit negotiations. – This is a great year for climate diplomacy. She added that G7 members will have to take full advantage of all the forums ahead of Glasgow: the G20 financial meeting in July, the UN General Assembly in September, the COP15 biodiversity conference in Kunming, the annual meetings of the IMF/World Bank and the G20.
Max Lawson of Oxfam strongly criticized the outcome of the summit, noting that it had become “notorious” and that leaders had “completely failed” to respond to current challenges. “Never in the history of the G7 has there been a greater gap between their actions and the needs of the world,” the statement read.
Double commitments G7
The G7 leaders affirmed the commitment to halt global warming at 1.5°C, thus achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement. To achieve this, they are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a net level of zero by 2050, and cut them earlier by 50%. by 2030.
However, it is merely a reiteration of existing commitments, first as parties to the Paris Agreement and secondly in national plans. There were no difficult new commitments. Admittedly, leaders have promised that they will stop funding new coal investments from this year (but not those already underway), but they haven’t even come up with a date to completely phase out coal. The last call said only that they plan to achieve “largely decarbonized energy systems” in the 2030s, and will make plans to accelerate this course of action.
As emphasized by experts, the main issue was financial support for developing countries in the fight against climate change. Developed countries have previously pledged to reach the $100 billion ceiling for developing countries to fight and adapt to climate change by 2020. So far this target has not been met. At the G7 summit, few details were mentioned in this regard, and the joint statement mentioned the mobilization of $100 billion annually starting from … 2025. Failure to meet and postpone previous commitments hits the credibility of the largest economies and may be a serious obstacle to the COP26 climate summit in the fall Financial issues will be one of the most difficult negotiating topics.
According to Aesop, “the $100 billion pledged a decade ago is the minimum required to build trust before COP26 and fulfill previous commitments.” Rich countries should go beyond repeating existing commitments and put new and additional financial resources on the table. Remember that $100 billion is not a one-time payment. He stressed that it is a permanent annual commitment agreed in the Paris Agreement.
Leaders talked about a major new climate investment and action plan, the “New Marshall Plan.” However, only a general concept is presented without details. Lawrence Tubiana (one of the chief negotiators of the Paris Agreement), quoted by the BBC, responded that in the face of mounting planetary crises, the leaders of the world’s richest democracies “presented a plan to make a plan”.
How about vaccinating the world?
Vaccination against COVID-19 has also been treated as a climate-related topic – a test of global solidarity and practical issues, such as the possibility for all delegates to participate in the COP26 summit. The G7 leaders have announced that they will donate at least one billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries. However, this is assessed as far from sufficient – even several billion doses are required to vaccinate the world, and if we don’t do it fast enough, new types of the virus will become even more dangerous.
The richest countries failed to reach an agreement to revoke vaccine patents and share resources and technology to increase production around the world. Aesop said that donating vaccine doses, regardless of the noble intentions behind it, is not a fair and quick way to end the epidemic. Oxfam also asserts that the real action was to suspend patents and vaccines, and to provide ready-made doses in the declared number is “a drop in the ocean”.