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  • Writer's pictureHannah Smith

The impact of the G7 summit 2021

Updated: Feb 15, 2022

What we know about the 2021 G7 Summit and the promises that have been made to help improve our climate

Since 1975 the leaders of the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU (since 1985 when the EU was invited to the summit in Ottawa, Canada) have been taking part in the G7 Summit and meeting on an annual basis to discuss global issues.


Where these leaders meet is based on an annual-rotation of the presidency and, this year, at the 47th Summit, it was the UK’s turn to host these meetings.


On the weekend of the 11th to the 13th of June 2021 the nations met in St Ives, Cornwall to discuss a variety of issues including, but not limited to, climate change, the COVID-19 outbreak and security of business.


Due to its enormous amount of press coverage, The G7 Summit, no matter where it is held, is usually always an event that we remember - whether this be for the decisions made by our leaders or a moment of public interest.


It will be difficult to forget the moment at this year's G7 Summit when Queen Elizabeth II casually stated “It’s more unusual” as she refused a knife to cut the G7 cake, instead cutting it with a sword.


However, despite the more amusing moments like these, the interest from the public in the more serious matters is growing.


This year's G7 summit concluded with our leaders making several decisions that would result in actions being taken against climate change.


They have made it legally binding that by 2050 the countries involved will meet a net zero emissions target as well as providing co-ordinated action against several areas of climate change.


The G7 summit plans to tackle carbon border taxes, green finance and phase out the use of coal across the globe by further assisting poorer countries in the battle against climate change.


They have pledged to raise $100 billion per year to help these countries lower their carbon emissions and move away from the use of coal, assuming they do not already have carbon capture technology in place.


In the final statement of the summit, the following was stated: “We reaffirm the collective developed countries goal to jointly mobilize $100bn per year from public and private sources through to 2025”


The final conclusion, for all seven nations pledging to reach net zero emissions by 2050, has been criticised by several climate activists who have noted that the promises made by the G7 summit have lacked detail.


The Climate Change Committee has said that the summit has shown ambition, but no detailed plans on how they plan to reach their net zero targets have been provided.


They have also reminded us that, during the 2009 summit, the same $100bn climate finance pledge was made with the goal of donating this annually until 2020, but this target was not met.


The UK government, in particular, has received many criticisms since the summit ended, which have noted that the UK may not be able to attain this net zero target by the deadline of 2050.


Climate advisors have provided the UK Government with 200 recommendations that will need to be actioned if they are to meet their legally obligated target by 2050.


These recommendations include making judgements on all its policies against a “net-zero” test to ensure they are adhering to climate change targets.


They have also suggested the government make amendments to the Planning Bill to ensure new houses meet low carbon standards and have been adapted to accommodate rising global temperatures.


These changes would only cost a fraction of the annual GDP, with the committee advising it could be as little as 1% of the annual income of the government and could, by 2035, boost the UK economy by 2% - leaving little room for the argument that taking action against climate change would not be profitable.


The UK government, however, has shown support for more roads to be built in the UK, which in itself causes a massive carbon footprint, and for the building and use of an oversea gas mega-project.


Not to mention Boris Johnson's recent flight from London to Cornwall, which saw critics saying he is ‘tone deaf’ to climate concerns.


These decisions and events will not lead to the UK being able to achieve their target of reaching zero emissions.


Mike Childs, the head of policy at Friends of the Earth has stated the following in regards to this: “Boris Johnson risks being a laughing stock at the UN climate summit he is hosting in Glasgow this year. The chancellor’s role in delivering net zero is crucial - unfortunately, this year’s budget did little to demonstrate the Treasury’s enthusiasm for building back greener.”


We, as citizens, are being encouraged to do what we can to help prevent further climate change and it is now time for our government to step up and take action as well, however, the question that we should all be asking ourselves now is; are we capable of making these changes before it is too late?


For more information on the G7 summit, you can visit the following links: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-49434667


For more information on the climate activists thoughts on the summit, you can visit the following links:


By Hannah Smith ©

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