G7 2021: The good and bad, and how we can help the world build back better

June 21, 2021

By Svitlana Romanko
Fossil Fuels Campaign Manager
Global Catholic Climate Movement

The presidents of G7 countries gather every year to find solutions to the climate crisis and make big political decisions that may or may not help climate justice for developing countries affected by climate change, fossil fuel mining corporations, extractive policies, and external debts.

This year’s meeting, which took place earlier this month, was a mixed bag.

Svitlana

Svitlana Romanko

In 2009, G7 countries promised to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020. In 2021, developed countries are collectively falling short by an estimated $20 billion in what they owe developing countries to address climate change impacts and risks. Only Canada and Germany have promised to double their financial contributions to the Global Climate Fund by 2025.

As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’, “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most.”

What did the presidents of the G7 countries agree upon in terms of phasing out fossil fuels, pushing for a just transition, and supporting clean and green investments

  1. Support a green revolution


What happened: G7 countries committed to net zero carbon emissions no later than 2050 and to increase climate finance.

What it means: Net zero in 2050 by G7 countries is not the green revolution that scientists say would greatly help produce a cleaner future and end the climate crisis.

A green revolution would start with ending EACOP, Vaca Muerta, and other exploration activities in developing countries. Doing so would help our most vulnerable sisters and brothers overcome financial debt, instability, and poverty.

  1. Commit to cutting their collective emissions of greenhouse gases in half by 2030 and aligning their national climate long-term goals and strategies accordingly before COP26


What happened: G7 countries committed to developing ambitious emissions reduction targets and national strategies by 2030 and to submitting them prior to the United Nations 26th annual Climate Change Conference.

What it means: COP26 is a big opportunity for countries to unite and agree to cut global emissions and develop strong climate policies. The world is currently on track for an average global temperature increase of 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100 with existing climate plans and policies.

Current G7 commitments to halve emissions by 2030 bring the projected average temperature increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is far from the Paris agreement target of well below  2 degrees Celsius and close to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Catholic bishops from every continent emphasize that creation care and climate change are moral issues for people of faith and good will.

To achieve a common good, we need to double our joint efforts in prophetic advocacy, persuading governments and politicians to increase their climate targets, divest from fossil fuels, invest ethically, and protect biodiversity.

  1. Support moving towards mandatory climate-related financial disclosures

What happened: G7 countries have reached an agreement on the necessity of the mandatory climate-related financial disclosures, and the USA has made a commitment on the international stage to implement climate-related financial disclosures, and not just to domestic constituencies.

What it means: Mandatory climate-related financial disclosures, if in force, will create more risk for further investments into fossil fuels and also multiply the risk of stranded fossil fuel assets. This would be good news for the movement to divest and for God’s creation.

This is another chance to shift the global financial system into one that’s more resilient and into one that takes into consideration the state of our climate. Climate-related financial disclosures may also reinforce stronger climate policies from the world’s governments.

  1. Phasing out new direct government support for international carbon-intensive fossil fuel energy, accelerating the international transition away from coal by 2021, and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.

What happened: G7 countries committed to rapidly scaling up technologies and policies that would further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity and end coal subsidies from their governments, consistent with G7 countries’ 2030 emission reduction goals and net zero commitments.

What it means: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay… Politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world” (LS 165).

There are two big ways to affect the harmful fossil fuel exploration and use that humanity and governments practice successfully: Investing into fossil fuels and subsidizing fossil fuels. 

Many institutions, including Catholic institutions, divest from fossil fuels and reinvest into clean technologies. But ending fossil fuel subsidies could potentially unlock much more finance for a global green transformation and the payments of climate debts to countries in the Global South.

As said in the G7 Communique, the timeline for ending fossil fuel subsidies needs to be confirmed, same as a just transition and the phasing out of all fossil fuels, not only coal. In the meantime, we must continue doing our part and leading the way by committing to divest from fossil fuels.

June 21, 2021

By Svitlana Romanko
Fossil Fuels Campaign Manager
Global Catholic Climate Movement

The presidents of G7 countries gather every year to find solutions to the climate crisis and make big political decisions that may or may not help climate justice for developing countries affected by climate change, fossil fuel mining corporations, extractive policies, and external debts.

This year’s meeting, which took place earlier this month, was a mixed bag.

Svitlana

Svitlana Romanko

In 2009, G7 countries promised to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020. In 2021, developed countries are collectively falling short by an estimated $20 billion in what they owe developing countries to address climate change impacts and risks. Only Canada and Germany have promised to double their financial contributions to the Global Climate Fund by 2025.

As Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’, “Reducing greenhouse gases requires honesty, courage and responsibility, above all on the part of those countries which are more powerful and pollute the most.”

What did the presidents of the G7 countries agree upon in terms of phasing out fossil fuels, pushing for a just transition, and supporting clean and green investments

  1. Support a green revolution


What happened: G7 countries committed to net zero carbon emissions no later than 2050 and to increase climate finance.

What it means: Net zero in 2050 by G7 countries is not the green revolution that scientists say would greatly help produce a cleaner future and end the climate crisis.

A green revolution would start with ending EACOP, Vaca Muerta, and other exploration activities in developing countries. Doing so would help our most vulnerable sisters and brothers overcome financial debt, instability, and poverty.

  1. Commit to cutting their collective emissions of greenhouse gases in half by 2030 and aligning their national climate long-term goals and strategies accordingly before COP26


What happened: G7 countries committed to developing ambitious emissions reduction targets and national strategies by 2030 and to submitting them prior to the United Nations 26th annual Climate Change Conference.

What it means: COP26 is a big opportunity for countries to unite and agree to cut global emissions and develop strong climate policies. The world is currently on track for an average global temperature increase of 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100 with existing climate plans and policies.

Current G7 commitments to halve emissions by 2030 bring the projected average temperature increase to 2.4 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which is far from the Paris agreement target of well below  2 degrees Celsius and close to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Catholic bishops from every continent emphasize that creation care and climate change are moral issues for people of faith and good will.

To achieve a common good, we need to double our joint efforts in prophetic advocacy, persuading governments and politicians to increase their climate targets, divest from fossil fuels, invest ethically, and protect biodiversity.

  1. Support moving towards mandatory climate-related financial disclosures

What happened: G7 countries have reached an agreement on the necessity of the mandatory climate-related financial disclosures, and the USA has made a commitment on the international stage to implement climate-related financial disclosures, and not just to domestic constituencies.

What it means: Mandatory climate-related financial disclosures, if in force, will create more risk for further investments into fossil fuels and also multiply the risk of stranded fossil fuel assets. This would be good news for the movement to divest and for God’s creation.

This is another chance to shift the global financial system into one that’s more resilient and into one that takes into consideration the state of our climate. Climate-related financial disclosures may also reinforce stronger climate policies from the world’s governments.

  1. Phasing out new direct government support for international carbon-intensive fossil fuel energy, accelerating the international transition away from coal by 2021, and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.

What happened: G7 countries committed to rapidly scaling up technologies and policies that would further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity and end coal subsidies from their governments, consistent with G7 countries’ 2030 emission reduction goals and net zero commitments.

What it means: “We know that technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay… Politics and business have been slow to react in a way commensurate with the urgency of the challenges facing our world” (LS 165).

There are two big ways to affect the harmful fossil fuel exploration and use that humanity and governments practice successfully: Investing into fossil fuels and subsidizing fossil fuels. 

Many institutions, including Catholic institutions, divest from fossil fuels and reinvest into clean technologies. But ending fossil fuel subsidies could potentially unlock much more finance for a global green transformation and the payments of climate debts to countries in the Global South.

As said in the G7 Communique, the timeline for ending fossil fuel subsidies needs to be confirmed, same as a just transition and the phasing out of all fossil fuels, not only coal. In the meantime, we must continue doing our part and leading the way by committing to divest from fossil fuels.