Socialist Worker

G7 Summit—world leaders accelerate towards climate chaos

The G7 Summit this week in Cornwall will see the world’s most powerful leaders discuss a response to the environmental emergency. Sophie Squire explores the leaders’ response to the climate crisis that is threatening all our futures

Issue No. 2758

Word leaders are on the road to disaster

Word leaders are on the road to disaster


Leaders of the richest countries in the world will mingle, sip champagne and enjoy the stunning view of Carbis Bay in Cornwall when they meet for the G7 summit. Together, they will also throw the planet even further into climate crisis.

The summit will be used as a platform for prime ministers, chancellors and presidents to preach about how they are leading the world in the battle against climate change.

But it is a lie. Not only do these leaders refuse to act with the urgency that is needed to address the crisis, but they are also actively making it worse.

A new report from the World Meteorological Organisation warned there is a 90 percent chance at least one of the years between 2021 and 2025 could become the warmest ever recorded.

This will have a devastating impact on ecosystems, and a knock-on effect that will mean more flooding, droughts and heatwaves. All of this will have a devastating impact on people and animals.

Despite the threat that this poses, most of these countries haven’t even been able to stick to targets for cutting emissions made in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

And all are refusing to commit to a significant reduction in fossil fuels usage. According to a new report, G7 countries committed over £133 billion to support oil, coal and gas between January 2020 and March 2021.

Now more than ever normal people are taking to the streets to protest against climate change. Many of them know that world leaders don’t hold the solutions to the climate crisis.

Joining the protests around the G7 is a vital way to show that where these leaders go they will be met with resistance.


FranceMacron’s fake green policies

France has seen some of the sharpest increases in temperatures caused by climate change in Europe, with temperatures reaching a sweltering 45.9 degrees Celsius in 2019.

But the government of Emmanuel Macron is falling short to address the climate crisis and has instead put big business first and normal people second.

Emmanuel Macron wages war at home and abroad
Emmanuel Macron wages war at home and abroad
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Earlier this year a new bill was proposed that would make small changes in an attempt to preserve the environment.

These changes include banning outdoor heaters in cafes and more vegetarian options in cafeterias.

All are welcome, but won’t go far enough. And this new bill also fails to address the fact that France is way behind targets set out in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Instead the bill sets out much less ambitious targets.

In 2018 Macron tried to use fake green reasons to increase taxes, attacking workers’ living standards by raising the duty on diesel and petrol.

This sparked the huge Yellow Vest movement. It became a protest over reasons why millions of people felt disillusionment with the way society is organised. Many sections of the movement brought together class concerns over pay and bills with environmental concerns.

The slogan “End of the world, end of the month—same fight” was popular.

It expressed the way money didn’t stretch the whole month for working class people and a demand for climate action. And it targeted the bosses and the elite politicians.


CanadaDestruction in the pipeline

Canada is the only G7 country whose emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement.

It is home to one of the largest oil reserves in the world— the Athabasca oil sands.

Workers anger at meeting of G20 leaders in Canada
Workers' anger at meeting of G20 leaders in Canada
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Prime minister Justin Trudeau is not willing to end the mining of fossil fuels, as it makes too much profit.

The construction of the controversial Line 3 oil pipeline, which starts in Alberta, Canada to Wisconsin in the US, sparked protests.

The pipeline crosses thousands of miles of indigenous land in Canada and the US, potentially contaminating up to 200 water sources.

Protests against the pipeline continue to rage in the US.

It is possible that after the completion of the US side of the pipeline it will contribute the equivalent of 50 coal plants worth of carbon pollution to the atmosphere.

The construction of Line 3 has already been finished in Canada with the full backing of the government.

When Trudeau signed off on plans for the pipeline in 2019 he said, “The decision we took today is the one that is in the best interests of Canada.”


JapanNo medals for former global leader

Japan announced last year that the Olympics, which were postponed due to Covid-19, would be the “greenest Olympics”. It proudly claimed that the games would only emit around 2.93 million tonnes of CO2.

But despite assurances that the games will be environmentally friendly, Japan is falling behind on its climate targets and refusing to make the transition to renewable energies.

Japan was once a global leader in the development and use of solar power. But it has abandoned much of the industry as it’s less profitable.

Wind power was also not particularly viable for Japan due to the weather the country experiences.

So instead of investing in renewables, Japan has switched back to fossil fuels.

Last year Japan announced it would open 22 new coal-burning power plants. Japan’s prime minister Yoshihide Suga said his government would address coal dependence with a “fundamental shift”, but no exit date has been agreed so far.


GermanyMerkel without limits

Firms cause climate chaos
Firms cause climate chaos
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Germany’s high court recently ruled that the government was not doing enough to protect future generations.

The supreme constitutional court has given the government one year to improve its 2019 Climate Protection Act.

Angela Merkel has often been one of the first to take the lead on global climate initiatives, and Germany was the first country to host COP talks in 1995.

But despite often appearing to back climate solutions, Germany’s chancellor has often tried to block or disrupt green legislation.

In 2014 Merkel blocked a deal that would put new carbon dioxide limits on cars so profits of German firms would not be affected.

The country continues to burn the most polluting coal, brown coal, at staggering rates. Accounting for 14 percent of its energy usage.

The country’s target of reducing coal production by 2038 will also fall woefully short in addressing the urgent need to reduce emissions.


ItalyA bad case of gas

Bankers’ and bosses’ man asked to take over in Italy
Bankers’ and bosses’ man asked to take over in Italy
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The Italian government in recent years has made it harder for environmental activists to protest.

Even before the pandemic, a new security bill gave more powers to hand out penalties to protesters.

The construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which transports natural gas from Azerbaijan through southern Italy has been the subject of angry protests.

These protests have often been met with violence from the Italian police.

The TAP project, which is partly funded by the European Union, has run into trouble recently after being accused of polluting groundwater.

Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi has been described as embracing, “the notion of environmentalism” by Luca Bergamaschi, co-founder of the Italian climate think tank ECCO.

But it’s important to note that Draghi has also sung the praises of the burning of natural gas as, “the most sustainable resource in the medium and long-term.”


United StatesDying in the wealthiest country

The changing climate is having a damaging effect on people’s health in the US, with heat-related mortality reaching a record high in 2018, with 19,000 people dying as a result.

Biden’s economic shift boosts bosses
Biden’s economic shift boosts bosses
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Extreme weather events caused by climate change have also hit the US hard.

But president Joe Biden and his government are not taking the necessary steps to cut down the carbon emissions.

Biden has made many promises on the campaign trail and since about protecting the environment and is keen to position himself as a global climate leader.

But there is one polluting industry that Biden is unlikely to make cuts to—war.

In 2019 a report found that since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 the US military had emitted around 1,212 million metric tons of greenhouse gases.

This was more than whole countries such as Finland and Norway.

In Biden’s proposed budget for 2022, he outlines plans for military spending to rise to £553 billion.


BritainFloody hell as Tories back coal

The number of people who are victims of flooding in Britain is soaring, and climate change is to blame.

Don’t stop protest against the G7 gathering
Don’t stop protest against the G7 gathering
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Researchers at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh found that flooding could increase by 15-35% by the year 2080.

But the Tories, who have cut flood defence budgets, are choosing to ignore the urgency of the climate crisis.

The government has announced plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria as well as cutting taxes on flights.

Britain’s sixth Carbon Budget was announced in April. It predicted that the country would be more than three-quarters of the way to net-zero by 2050.

This is a reduction on the previous promise that net-zero would be completely achieved in this year.

But this inaction is not a surprise considering the attitude to the climate crisis found within the ruling party.

In a shocking poll, 32.9 percent of tories didn’t think humans were responsible for global warming.


Australia, South Korea and IndiaCash for coal and nuclear power

Financial institutions are funding climate destruction
Financial institutions are funding climate destruction
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Britain has invited representatives from Australia, South Korea and India to be part of the G7 proceedings.

The Australian government led by Tory prime minister Scott Morrison has refused to announce a date at which the country could be at net zero. Investments in renewable energies have also dropped.

In South Korea coal power plants are continuing to be built. The burning of coal is unlikely to end before 2054.

The country also has the highest density of nuclear reactors.

And in India, headed up by the ring wing government of Narendra Modi, coal production keeps on growing.

The Indian government provided one of the largest stimulus packages to sectors affected by Covid. It included handouts to the aviation and tourism industry.

But the opportunity was missed to make this a ‘green recovery’.


ProtestHow you can take action

Many different groups have organised to protest against the G7 from 11—13 June.

The Resist G7 group has organised camping in mid/west Cornwall and will release more details soon. Go to ResistG7.org for more information.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) has also organised several actions.

On Friday at 11am protests will be held in St. Ives.

On Saturday at 11.30am protests focus on Falmouth. And on Sunday at 10am XR will return to St.Ives.

More information can be found at xrsw.uk

The group, for Kashmir at the United Nations, has organised two protests at Carbis Bay to oppose Narendra Modi. Both begin at 2 pm on Friday and Saturday.

In London, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others have called a protest on 12 June, 1 pm at Downing Street.


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Features
Mon 7 Jun 2021, 10:23 BST
Issue No. 2758
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