Science

With Biden, the G7 takes action on the pandemic, the climate crisis and China

Without the scandals or slammed doors of the Trump era, Joe Biden’s first G7 summit ended Sunday with promises to act together, among allies, against the pandemic and global warming, while challenging Russia and China.

The three-day meeting in Cornwall (south-west England), the first in person in almost two years, marked the return of direct contacts between leaders from the United Kingdom, United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada.

But also the entry into the club of the leaders of the great powers of the American democratic president, determined to revive multilateralism, during his first trip abroad which must end with a long-awaited face-to-face with Vladimir Poutin on Wednesday. .

Joe Biden, who came to reconquer allies scalded under Donald Trump, hailed a summit “extraordinarily collaborative and productive”.

It brought a “new impetus”, welcomed the German Chancellor on the departure Angela Merkel, after her last G7 summit.

If the bickering between Europeans and Boris Johnson over Brexit came as a blow to the good understanding displayed in front of the cameras over family photos, receptions and barbecues on the beach, the industrialized countries, under his leadership, strove to show a united front on major international issues.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a press conference in Carbis Bay on June 13, 2021 (POOL / AFP – Ben STANSALL)

Faced with the multiplication of calls for solidarity, they agreed to distribute one billion doses of anti-Covid vaccines by the end of 2022, by financing them or via the Covax sharing system, to fill the immunization delay in poor countries and promote a more egalitarian recovery.

This brings the total commitments since the start of the health crisis to two billion, according to them.

– Moscow and Beijing singled out –

“I know the world was counting on us to reject the selfishness and nationalist approaches” that marked the response to the pandemic, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “I hope we have been up to the task.”

No, deplored many NGOs: at least 11 billion doses are needed to end the pandemic. “The leaders of the G7 have completely failed to meet the challenges of our time,” Oxfam accused.

The latter also defined a battle plan with the hope that the world would be ready in less than 100 days to face a new pandemic and called for a further investigation by the WHO into the origin of the virus in China.

The latter was particularly targeted during the summit, with Russia. In its final communiqué, the G7 called on Beijing to “respect human rights” in Xinjiang, where the Uyghur minority lives, and in Hong Kong. He urged Russia to cease “its destabilizing activities” by its support in particular for cyberattacks.

To counter the Chinese “New Silk Roads”, the G7 has launched a vast infrastructure plan in climate, health, digital technology and the fight against inequalities in order to help poor countries recover from the pandemic .

It will be “much more equitable” than the Chinese, assured Mr. Biden, while assuring that he was not seeking the “conflict”, Beijing hardly appreciating these announcements. French President Emmanuel Macron also assured that the G7 was “not a club hostile to China”.

– Haro on coal –

Another big component: the climate, with an action plan to try to limit global warming. A crucial issue for the United Kingdom before the major UN climate conference (COP26) which it will host in Glasgow (Scotland) in November.

The aim is to limit the increase in temperatures below 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, a threshold beyond which scientists believe that climate change will get out of hand.

To achieve this, the leaders of the G7 have called for a halving of their greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, or even more for some.

They want to turn their backs on coal-fired power stations, the most polluting fossil fuel, unless environmental compensation measures are in place, such as CO2 capture. Public aid will be stopped this year.

In this context, the leaders plan to sign a check for up to $ 2 billion to support the green transition in disadvantaged countries.

G7 contributions will be increased in order to meet the objective of developed countries to finance climate policies of poor countries to the tune of $ 100 billion per year by 2025.

For environmental activists, it’s too soft. “Where is the clear national implementation with deadlines,” asked Greenpeace.

In terms of taxation, the G7 supported a project for a global minimum tax rate in order to fight against tax competition between countries.

After the G7 and tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle, it’s time for Joe Biden at NATO then a very scrutinized meeting with Russian President Vladimir Poutine, with whom he promised to be “very clear” on their disagreements.

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