The Green Tau: issue 4

The G7 2021 summit has come and gone. What did it achieve?
Where does it lead us in relation to the COP climate talks in November? Below are some of the outcomes of the talks that relate to the global tackling of the climate crisis.

The G7 committed to accelerating efforts to cut green house gases so as to keep the temperature increases below 1.5 C – ie  a commitment to try harder to stick to their previously agreed target. The G7 agreed to end by 2021 all new government funding for unabated coal fired power stations whilst at the same time Australia plans to continue to support its coal mining industries. 
The G7 committed to the phasing out of petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles, although no date was agreed – the UK government has proposed ending the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, but similar plans in France are proving unpopular at a time when President Macron faces an election in 2022 and the current earliest date for ending the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles is 2040. The G7 agreed a 2030 Nature Compact with commitments to lead the transition to sustainable use of natural resources; investing in a nature positive economy; protecting, restoring and conserving nature with a target of 30% of the globe’s lands and oceans by 2030; and prioritising accountability for their commitments to nature. The how and where and finances have yet to be species.
The G7 pledge to provide $100,000 a year to support climate change action is the continuation of an existing pledge. And at the same time India is reluctant to do more to avert climate change without receiving further financial support. It was the first summit to be net carbon neutral but that example was marred by Boris Johnson’s decision to fly to Cornwall rather than to travel by train.

The G7 Summit may have confirmed the various government’s intentions to tackle the climate crisis but failed to produce any concrete plans as to how these might be achieved. The parable of the two brothers comes to mind. There once was a father who had two sons.  He asked  both to help him in the vineyard. The first said, Yes I’ll help! but then did nothing more. The second said, No, not me! but later changed his mind and helped in the vineyard.  If governments, organisations or individuals say Yes, I’ll help tackled climate change, then can we rest comfortably knowing that the crisis is going to be averted? If governments, organisations or individuals say No, I shan’t do anything – is climate change even real? do we feel that’s our own individual efforts are pointless? Clear leadership is needed! And if such leadership is lacking then we need to encourage one another, being clear about what we can and what we are doing to tackle the crisis. If you cycle rather than using the car, say so. If you take the train rather than the plane, then say so. If you are eating plant based meals, then say so. If you have solar panels, a heat-pump, an energy monitor, then say so. Let’s be outspoken about what we can and are doing!

NB Many organisations such as WWF, Friends of the Earth, the BBC,  all offer advise on how we as individuals can take action to tackle climate change. 

Woodlands are natural carbon stores as well as places for refreshment

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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