Seven things you should know about the G7 (if you care about climate change)
1. What is the G7?
The G7 stands for the Group of Seven, referring to the seven countries that are involved: the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the USA. The G7, started in 1975, is a coming together of some of the world’s richest nations to address the biggest global issues of the time.
As these countries are huge economic powers, the goals they set can have a strong political impact across the globe. Meaning the decisions they choose to make can have a ripple effect internationally.
This year, the UK will host the G7 summit — as host they are also President of the G7 this year and have an influential role in the agenda and ambition of the summit. The 2021 summit will be the first one in almost two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be held in Carbis Bay, Cornwall from Friday the 11th of June to Sunday the 13th.
2. What does the G7 do?
The G7 is an annual meeting of presidents and prime ministers from the seven member countries. They meet to discuss solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. These range from the climate crisis, to health emergencies, to economic disparity. Previous summits have discussed solutions to AIDs and Malaria, how to improve global education, and how to limit global emissions through the Paris Agreement. The meeting of world leaders in June is a culmination of meetings between ministers of the G7 countries such as health and finance.
3. Who will attend the 2021 G7 summit?
Presidents and Prime Ministers from the seven countries will be attending the summit. These are:
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
France’s President Emmanuel Macron
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga
The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The USA’s President Joe Biden
The UK has also invited four guest nations to this year’s summit, Australia, India, South Africa, and South Korea. The 11 countries that will attend this year’s summit represent 2.2 billion people across the globe, meaning decisions made could have a profound impact.
4. Why is it important that the UK is hosting?
By hosting both COP26 and the G7 summit, all eyes will be on the UK to make ambitious targets to solve the climate crisis. Boris Johnson and the UK government will therefore be under increasing pressure to ensure the summit is successful in working towards a just recovery and providing financial support. The UN put up the goal of reaching $100 billion to tackle the issue of the climate crisis, the G7 countries, due to their wealth, are key players in meeting this goal. This will have a ripple effect, hopefully resulting in other countries also making ambitious climate finance commitments.
5. What will happen at the 2021 G7 summit?
At the 2021 summit there will be a large focus on ‘Building back better.’ The UK government has said that the focus will be on creating a fairer, greener, and more prosperous future for all, to protect against future pandemics as well as the growing climate crisis. The Government has also stated “As we recover, we must champion our values and support the poorest nations to grow alongside us”. This must include providing support to poorer countries to help them reach net zero.
6. What are we calling for?
We are asking the UK government to take a pioneering stance at the G7 and effect change in four different areas. These areas include tackling COVID, injustice, nature, and the climate crisis.
COVID needs to be tackled fairly, with everyone having equal access to vaccines, as well as testing and treatments being more accessible to people everywhere. We are also calling for healthcare services, such as the NHS, to be better supported to ensure that everyone can be prepared and protected for future pandemics.
We need to tackle injustice both at home in the UK and abroad. By providing funding the G7 nations could support countries in creating green jobs, empowering women and girls through education, prevent famine and malnutrition, and ensure diverse leadership which can hugely benefit communities by amplifying their voice. All these issues are interconnected and tackling them can have massive impacts on the fight against climate change. For example, women are more likely to be impacted by climate change as they are often responsible for farming and feeding their family. Through education, they can be empowered with the tools they need to be resilient to climate change, reducing the risk of malnutrition as well as directly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
With the population sizes of species decreasing, and some species going extinct all together, it is vital that we protect their habitats, and ensure we reduce our ecological footprint. We are therefore calling for strict targets to be put into law to make 30% of land and sea protected areas in order to slow the global decline of nature by 2030.
We are at a turning point in the fight against climate change. We are therefore asking the G7 to deliver a green recovery by providing aid to those most affected by the climate crisis, to ensure no one is left behind. By supporting those most affected as well as ending fossil fuel usage, ensuring sustainable land and water use, and providing clean energy, we can limit warming to below 1.5°C.
World leaders must come together to tackle these issues to bring about a greener and fairer future for all.
7. Why does the G7 matter to me?
The decisions made at the G7 summit can have huge implications for all countries, the UK included. The UK is already feeling the effects of climate change. People’s homes are being lost to flooding, crops are dying from drought, and drastic increase in temperatures are resulting in human deaths.