UNITED KINGDOM — Today, the three-day G7 summit came to an end with announcements about tackling the climate crisis. The climate and environment section of today’s Communique announced joint actions to end public support for overseas unabated coal generation by 2022 and agreed to “phase out new direct government support for carbon intensive international fossil fuel energy, except in limited circumstances at the discretion of each country.” These announcements are critical given that G7 countries provided an average of USD 86 billion in public finance for fossil fuels between 2017 and 2019 — more than three times their support for clean energy over the same time period, with the US among the worst actors. But the communique also includes a vague statement about the role of communities most affected yet least consulted about the climate crisis, stating “Together we welcome the active role and participation of vulnerable communities, underrepresented groups and will work towards achieving equality.”
In the lead up to the G7 summit, the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth US hosted an inaugural Global Grassroots Leaders Climate Summit, bringing together grassroots leaders representing 30 organizations from 17 countries. During the summit, leaders emphasized the demand for a just transition to a clean energy economy which centers the most vulnerable communities. They also discussed the impacts of US-financed energy projects overseas and the climate issues in their communities more broadly, and shared their demands with the Biden Administration, including Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, the Development Finance Corporation, the US Treasury Department, and the US Export-Import Bank. Grassroots Leaders also participated in public facing webinars elevating asks to immediately halt US overseas fossil fuel finance, shut down coal, and encourage renewable energy finance and just transition.
In response, Sierra Club International Climate and Policy Director Cherelle Blazer released the following statement:
“It’s a welcome sign that the United States is partnering with fellow G7 countries to acknowledge the need for a global transition off of coal and begin the phaseout of fossil fuels. However, the lack of commitment to an immediate end of financing for fossil fuel projects accompanied with FAR too little investment in new renewable energy is a game of too little too late. If the world is to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, we must make the bold steps necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. We cannot claim to grasp the ongoing — and increasingly dire — effects of the climate crisis while simultaneously prolonging the life of the fuels driving it. This past week brought welcome news, but it will only continue to serve as green rhetoric unless investment to address the climate crisis grows significantly.”
International Policy Campaigner Luisa Galvao from Friends of the Earth US released the following statement:
“G7 commitments to phase out fossil fuels are looking like swiss cheese: full of holes. While it is welcome that G7 countries finally agreed to end public support for coal, as communities around the world have long called for, the G7 should have taken this opportunity to end support for all fossil fuels, as science and justice require. Instead, the G7’s silence on oil and gas will continue to subject communities to an unjust transition.”