An urgent mission

The ministerial meeting of the Group of Seven leading industrialised nations has just closed, committing to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and the prevention of further losses of biodiversity. The meeting once again affirmed the goal of mobilising US$ 100 billion per year in the 2020-2025 period to increase financial resources towards the efforts to combat climate change, considering this a central task of the recovery strategy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

An aerial view shows power-generating windmill turbines in a wind farm in Graincourt-les-Havrincourt, France, April 27, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)
An aerial view shows power-generating windmill turbines in a wind farm in Graincourt-les-Havrincourt, France, April 27, 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

At the meeting, hosted by the UK in virtual format, the G7 ministers expressed the determination of the leading powers in their efforts to curb the increase in global temperatures towards a critical 1.5 degrees Celsius rise; agreed to put climate, biodiversity and the environment at the centre of the recovery process after the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context that the world urgently needs action to further reduce and adapt to climate change, prevent biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, towards sustainable development.

In order to transit to a green economy, the G7 countries say they will promote a clean energy transition, improve resource efficiency, establish sustainable supply chains, and integrate climate and biodiversity issues in the process of economic decision making. They countries have agreed to stop direct financing of thermal power plants in poor countries by the end of 2021, a move towards accelerating the goal of reducing emissions by 2030, towards the use of zero-emission vehicles.

The G7 decisions came after the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that, in order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the world needs to stop developing new projects using electricity, coal, oil and gas. All G7 members have signed up to participate in the 30 x 30 Global Conservation Initiative to conserve at least 30% of the world's land area and 30% of the ocean by 2030. The G7 is also committed to advancing the goal of deeper reductions in emissions in order to achieve carbon neutrality no later than 2050.

In order to meet the set targets, rich countries need to strengthen their support for the transition to green energy in other countries, including focusing on supporting clean energy alternatives, such as solar and wind power. The G7 group agreed to increase financing for climate action to meet its goal of spending US$100 billion per year on supporting developing countries.

In addition, the G7 group says it is committed to a series of global biodiversity goals, with the aim of agreeing on a biodiversity framework by the end of the year. Measures to tackle deforestation were also mentioned, the G7 will strengthen support for sustainable supply chains to limit agricultural production which causes deforestation and forest degradation. The G7 summit also made a commitment to end deforestation and restore 350 million hectares of forest by 2030, while working towards ending illegal fishing and improving marine biodiversity in international waters.

It can be said that decisions made at the recent G7 ministerial meeting are an important stepping stone towards the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to take place in the UK in November.

The international community has reached agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions, as well as agreeing to accelerate action against climate change, but the gap between commitment and action is still significant. There is still a glaring injustice, as rich countries account for most of the emissions, but the consequences of climate change are largely affecting poor countries. Therefore, the commitment needs to be realised by practical action to help poor countries fight climate change, so the world can attain its ambitious goals in this war without gunfire but full of challenges.