The world’s seven largest economies have pledged to help poorer countries move away from coal-fired power stations and cut emissions.
During the three-day summit in the British county of Cornwall, G7 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to “jointly mobilise $US100 billion ($130 billion)” a year to help poorer countries cut carbon emissions and cope with global warming,
The money, which will come from public and private sources and end in 2025, should stop developing countries from using coal.
“Towards this end, we commit to each increase and improve our overall international public climate finance contributions for this period and call on other developed countries to join and enhance their contributions to this effort,” the communique said.
But only two nations offered firm promises of more cash.
After the summit, Canada said it would double its climate finance pledge to $C5.3 billion ($5.7 billion) in the next five years and Germany would increase its by €2 billion to €6 billion ($9.4 billion) a year by 2025 at the latest.
The funding pledge came after a video message from Sir David Attenborough was played to world leaders.
“The natural world today is greatly diminished … Our climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly plain to see,” Sir David said.
“But the question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet.”
The G7 also promised to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, and pledged to work together to tackle so-called carbon leakage – the risk that tough climate policies could cause companies to relocate to regions where they can continue to pollute cheaply.
But there were few details on how they would manage to cut emissions, with an absence of specific measures on everything from the phasing out of coal to moving to electric vehicles.
Climate change was just one of several issues on the G7 summit agenda.
Leaders agreed to donate one billion COVID-19 vaccine doses over the next year to poorer countries.
But the United Nations said more was needed and campaigners said the pledge showed the G7 was not yet on top of tackling the crisis.
The G7 singled out China in their communique for human rights in Xinjiang, demanded freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong, and said a full investigation was needed into the origins of the novel coronavirus.
It also sought to counter China’s growing influence by offering developing nations an infrastructure plan that could rival Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative by supporting projects such as railways in Africa and wind farms in Asia.
The G7 demanded Russia take action to halt cyber attacks that demand ransoms from businesses in the West.
It called on Moscow to stop its “destabilising behaviour and malign activities” and investigate the use of chemical weapons.
After the historic economic slump of 2020, the G7 leaders agreed to continue their huge support programs “for as long as is necessary” and avoid the mistakes of the past when stimulus had been scaled back too early.
“Once the recovery is firmly established, we need to ensure the long-term sustainability of public finances,” they said.
The G7 stopped short of committing to concrete steps for rich countries to reallocate $US100 billion ($130 billion) of their share of International Monetary Fund assets to poorer countries hit by COVID-19.
They said they wanted other countries to contribute too.
G7 finance ministers and central bank governors would “urgently consider the detail of this, including by working with the G20 and other stakeholders”.
Tensions between London and other European capitals flared again.
Britain’s Boris Johnson said he would do “whatever it takes” to protect the territorial integrity of Britain.
After a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr Johnson said some countries “seem to misunderstand that the UK is a single country … I just need to get that into their heads”.
Biden and the world
Mr Biden was welcomed with open arms by the other G7 leaders after the isolationist stance of Donald Trump.
“It’s great to have a US president who’s part of the club and very willing to co-operate,” France’s Mr Macron said.
“It used to be complete chaos,” a source attending the talks said.