Six of G7 Commit to Climate Action
Six of the seven countries attending last week’s G7 summit – Canada, Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Japan, along with the EU government – made several climate commitments while US negotiators promoted fossil fuels. President Donald Trump did not attend the environment sessions, and the country did not endorse the closing communique.
At the summit, the remaining leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris climate agreement, from which the US plans to withdraw. They pledged to reduce air and water pollution, along with greenhouse gas emissions as steps toward to achieving a global carbon-neutral economy during the second half of this century.
The communique focused on energy transition through market-based clean energy technologies and stressed the importance of carbon pricing, technology collaboration and innovation as well as financing to improve adaptation to climate change. The six countries endorsed the Charlevoix Blueprint for Health Oceans, Seas and Resilient Coastal Communities and – with the notable exception of Japan – the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter.
While underlining its support of market-based clean energy technologies, the US in its resolution said it “will endeavor to work closely with other countries to help them access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently." None of the other six countries endorsed the fossil fuel proposal.
Commentators noticed that this year's G7 statement on climate change was more extensive than in its 2017 statement, which included just a single paragraph on the subject. The US did not support the climate statement last year, either, as the journal Inside Climate News noted. That communique said the US government was reviewing its policies and was "not in a position to join the consensus."
Touching on the summit’s resolutions, Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists – which has repeatedly criticized the current leadership of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – said the six nations endorsing a common approach “are joined by thousands of US mayors, governors, business leaders and others who are moving forward with ambitious climate action.”
“As communities across the US.
confront the costly and harmful impacts of climate change, it's these leaders – not President Trump – who are acting in the true economic, environmental and national security interests of the American people," Meyer said.
"America – until now – had led on climate," Fred Krupp, president of the US Environmental Defense Fund, commented. "Today our president doesn't even care enough to be present. We all must work to restore the USA to a leadership position."