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G7: Leaders pledge to tackle climate crisis and halt biodiversity loss

G7 nations pledge to raise $100bn a year to help low-income countries cut emissions, but campaigners warn that the weekend was ‘full of hollow words.’

A package of support from the UK, Germany and the US will also help to protect the world’s most vulnerable communities from the impacts of climate change.

Pre-arranged financing will also help communities to build the systems needed to reach the poorest people quickly, such as payments when harvests fail.

The UK will also use the money to invest in the regional disaster protection schemes across Africa, South East Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific to protect lives and livelihoods against climate risks.

UK foreign and development secretary Dominic Raab said: ‘Tackling climate change is one of the greatest threats of our time as, without action, it could push more than 100 million people below the poverty line as soon as 2030.

‘This joint UK, US and German action will enable quicker responses to extreme weather and climate-linked disasters in countries bearing the brunt of climate change.’

The G7 leaders have also agreed to help nations move away from coal power.

As part of this commitment, they will end the funding of new coal generation in developing countries and will offer up to £2bn to stop using the fuel.

Dr Ruth Valerio, director of advocacy and influencing at the charity Tearfund said: ‘This weekend has been full of hollow words with little more than spare change on the table to end support for fossil fuels and bring about the green revolution we desperately need.

‘The G7 has finally recognised the egregious impact of coal but has fallen short of ending the era of polluting fossil fuels and ushering in a climate-safe future for us all.

‘Empty promises will do nothing for the 132 million people who will be pushed into extreme poverty this decade by the climate emergency. Cutting the aid budget has left the UK weak on the global stage and failing to lead in a vital year in the fight against the climate crisis.

‘This could have been a springboard for successful Climate Talks in November, but without the cash, these promises are like writing in the sand and will do nothing to turn the tide of the climate emergency that is already devastating the lives of millions.’

Alex Massie, climate Emergency specialist from the environmental consultancy firm Eunomia also warned that G7 nations must not let their own climate commitments hinder progress elsewhere, he said: ‘When setting new more ambitious targets, G7 countries must be mindful that the route they choose could impact other countries’ abilities to reach their own climate goals. Further analysis is needed, but if the actions of the G7 are focused solely on the emissions from within their borders – rather than taking a global view – then the risk is that they will simply offshore these emissions to other often poorer parts of the world.

‘The drive to source specific, rare materials for electric vehicles in richer nations is just one example of where the burden of decarbonisation is, to an extent, offshored, with the mining of these materials bringing their own GHG burden, along with localised impacts on biodiversity.

‘As demonstrated in our research, governments can use environmental fiscal reform to shift the burden of taxation away from things we want to incentivise, like jobs, onto things we want to prevent, such as pollution.’

Photo credit –  Mike Erskine

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