The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) met on Monday, December 13, via video conference. According to their statement, the meeting was held in order to assess where the G7 stands as Germany’s presidency comes to its close.
A Year in Review: Germany’s G7 presidency
Germany took over the G7 presidency on Jan. 1, 2022, and will pass it along to Japan at the end of the year. The group currently includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
In the G7 Leaders’ Statement about the virtual meeting held this week, the group stated that they came together after a tumultuous year to “reflect on progress of our cooperation under Germany’s Presidency to jointly address global challenges at a time of severe geopolitical crisis and critical moment for the world economy.”
I joined G7 Leaders and President Zelenskyy to discuss the progress we’ve made under Germany’s presidency to address pressing challenges of our time – Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine, climate, food and energy security, infrastructure, and more.
We're more united than ever. pic.twitter.com/KdG4Iw2Ixl
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 12, 2022
During its presidency, Germany has been pursuing five major goals: a sustainable planet, economic stability and transformation; healthy lives; investment in a better future; and being stronger together.
The group met multiple times over the year, but the centerpiece of Germany’s presidency was the Elmau Summit, which was held at the end of June.
The Elmau Summit was held under the overarching theme of “Progress Towards an Equitable World,” and many pressing topics were discussed, including the G7 support for Ukraine, global food security, and resilient democracies.
The group also first presented their idea for a climate club on this stage, which was held at the height of summertime in the Bavarian alps, a scene surely meant to reinforce the importance to the group of preserving the world’s natural beauties.
In their Executive Summary of the summit’s outcomes, the group discussed how these issues have become interdependent as a result of the war in Russia, which is both exacerbating food insecurity worldwide and causing fossil fuels to experience a wartime resurgence, as leaders become more focused on bringing down the price of oil and gas than reducing their emissions.
In order to combat the increasingly urgent issues of the climate crisis, the Climate Club will be built around three pillars: advancing ambitious and transparent climate change mitigation policies towards climate neutrality; transforming industries to accelerate decarbonisation; and boosting international ambition through partnerships and cooperation to facilitate climate action and promote just energy transition.
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The Climate Club: A G7 initiative for the next presidency
So, it is unsurprising that the statement released after G7’s end-of-year video conference continued to focus on the group’s two central issues: condemnation of Putin’s war in the Ukraine and key priorities regarding the climate and the environment going forward.
The group offered a mission statement for the future, reaffirming their commitments “to implement the Paris Agreement and the outcomes of COP26 and COP27,” to stimulate “urgent, ambitious, and inclusive climate action in this decade to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,” and to “reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”
Although the intention to create a Climate Club in pursuit of these goals was announced in June, this most recent meeting allowed the leaders to endorse the Climate Club’s terms of reference as established by the Climate Club Task Force.
As such, G7 announced that they: “hereby establish an open and cooperative international Climate Club.” (bolding added)
An open, cooperative and international club for the climate: The #G7 has launched the #ClimateClub to advance climate protection ambitiously and globally #G7Ger: https://t.co/ruo1aFqKYl pic.twitter.com/Bn1okmgFOk
— G7 GER (@G7) December 13, 2022
Within the scope of the broader targets of the Paris Agreement, the club intends to focus in particular on the decarbonisation of industries and contribution to unlocking green growth.
German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck has clarified that this specifically refers to G7’s hope of bringing climate-friendly commodities, such as green steel, onto the market more quickly, and improving the opportunities for them worldwide.
The statement ended with a declaration of open arms, or a plea for engagement from any nation who might be listening:
“We invite partners, including major emitters, G20 members and other developing and emerging economies, to intensify discussions and consultations with us on this matter.”
As an inclusive organisation, the G7’s new Climate Club will be open to any country who is committed to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement and, in particular, the Glasgow Climate Pact.
“In this context, the Club is intended to advance international partnerships and cooperation agreements with a view to supporting countries in their transformation,” Habeck said.
The group have also asked the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in tandem with the International Energy Agency (IEA), to host an interim secretariat working together with other international organisations.
Now, G7 prepares to turn its focus to Japan’s presidency, which will begin on Jan. 1, 2023. Japan has already announced the initiatives it wishes to undertake which include prioritising global commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), development and the reduction of disparities and poverty, and humanitarian assistance including refugee and migrant issues.
Japan historically has had a tepid enthusiasm for the climate ambitions promoted by other G7 partners. Perhaps the Climate Club will offer the necessary initiative to ensure that the ever-increasing urgency of the climate crisis will remain at the top of the group’s agenda in the new year.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: G7 leaders gathered at the Elmau Summit in June 2022. Featured Photo Credit: Wikimedia.