Last reviewed 14 June 2021
G7 Leaders have agreed to strengthen climate commitments, reverse biodiversity loss and renew the $100 billion pledge to finance emissions cuts in developing countries. But critics say plans lack detail and ambition.
The G7 Summit in Cornwall ended on Sunday with leaders agreeing to a raft of new measures to tackle the climate crisis, strengthen biodiversity commitments and building a “resilient and sustainable global economic recovery from the Covid-19” for all nations.
In his address to the G7 leaders, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who hosted the three-day meeting, said he hoped the summit had “lived up to some of the most optimistic of hopes and predictions”.
“As democratic nations we have a responsibility to help developing countries reap the benefits of clean growth through a fair and transparent system. The G7 has an unprecedented opportunity to drive a global Green Industrial Revolution, with the potential to transform the way we live.”
Progress was made on a number of fronts.
The G7 group has committed to move away from coal plants, unless they have technology to capture carbon emissions and will end the funding of new coal generation in developing countries, and offer up to £2 billion to stop using the fuel.
Raise contributions to meet an overdue spending pledge, agreed in the Paris Accord, of $100 billion a year, to help poorer countries cut carbon emissions and cope with global warming. The group also wants to offer developing countries a new “green belt and road” finance plan, with richer countries helping to fund schemes that reduce carbon emissions.
A new G7 Nature Compact has also been agreed to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, and tackle deforestation, marine litter and illegal wildlife trade, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity (COD). Further commitments have been made on accelerating the transition to sustainable agriculture, recognising the harmful effects some subsidies have on the environment.
While these pledges have been welcomed, environmentalists and charities argue the devil is in the detail, and that actions are needed now to tackle the climate emergency and support the world’s poorest countries.
Catherine Pettengell, Director at Climate Action Network, told Reuters that the G7 had failed to rise to the challenge of agreeing concrete commitments on climate finance. "We had hoped that the leaders of the world's richest nations would come away from this week having put their money their mouth is," she said.
On fossil fuels, Anna Marriott, Health Policy Manager at Oxfam, said the summit felt like “a broken record of the same old promises”. “Without agreeing to end all new fossil fuel projects — something that must be delivered this year if we are to limit dangerous rises in global temperature — this plan falls very short.”
On nature, John Sauven, Executive Director at Greenpeace UK, said: "The G7's plan doesn't go anywhere near far enough when it comes to a legally binding agreement to stop the decline of nature by 2030…"And the finance being offered to poorer nations is simply not new, nor enough, to match the scale of the climate crisis. “
In the final G7 Communique, leaders state they are committed to “supporting a green revolution” that delivers net zero by 2050 and halving collective emissions by 2030.
The next step is convincing the wider G20 leaders in Italy in October that the “green revolution” will work in practice, ahead of the crucial climate summit in Glasgow in November.