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Climate Change – Global solutions: Four things that came out of the G7 summit (Douglas Broom, WEF)

  • The G7 summit in the UK ended with pledges on COVID-19, tax and the environment.
  • A promised billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine was described by some as too little.
  • But President Joe Biden said the summit had been “extraordinarily collaborative”.

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies met in Cornwall, UK last week.

It was the first in-person meeting of the group since the pandemic began last year, and the first visit of US President Joe Biden to Europe.

There was a lot on the table, from climate change to the pandemic and global economic recovery, and although not everyone will think the outcomes go far enough, here are four of the key takeaways from the summit.

1. A billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine

“We welcome the generous announcements about donations of vaccines and thank leaders. But we need more, and we need them faster,” said World Health Organization Director General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus.

2. No more coal

G7 leaders pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation at home and to end funding for new coal-burning power plants in the developing world. The leaders committed to offering developing nations $2.8 billion to help them switch to cleaner fuels.

The summit also promised to make good on a pledge, first made in 2009, to “to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year from public and private sources, through to 2025” to developing countries to help them tackle the impact of climate change. But climate groups said more was needed.

 

The Carbis Bay communique summed up the G7’s shared agenda.
Image: G7 UK

3. America is back

“America is back at the table,” declared US President Joe Biden as he sought to consign some of the friction between his predecessor and the world community to the political past. He also said the summit had been “extraordinarily collaborative”.

“It’s great to have a U.S. president who’s part of the club and very willing to cooperate,” French President Emmanuel Macron told Reuters. For his part, President Biden cast the G7 as being in a “contest with autocratic governments” as he spoke out on human rights.

The summit agreed measures to dissuade multinational companies from shifting profits to low tax havens. Leaders signed up to levy a minimum 15% corporate tax rate.

Leaders also moved to help protect the global financial system from the impact of climate change by agreeing rules to require companies and financial institutions to disclose the extent to which their business is exposed to climate change risks.