G7 must support climate and the ocean while leading the way on sustainable development
The meeting of G7 nations begins on 7 June at Schloss Elmau, Germany and will include discussion on climate, sustainable development and ocean protection.
With a new global climate deal set to be agreed in December, concrete actions from G7 countries are needed to support emissions cuts now, before the new agreement takes hold in five years. In addition to the expected launch of an initiative on renewable energy in Africa, G7 governments should produce a concrete plan to deliver their commitment of US$100 billion per year in climate finance by 2020, with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable communities.
“The meeting of the G7 comes at a crucial moment in a critical year. G7 leaders must take decisive action on climate change and the full range of sustainable development measures,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International. “G7 countries are history's big emitters and WWF expects them to support a rapid renewable energy transition in all countries while securing a long-term goal for eliminating fossil fuels by 2050.”
Alongside climate action, G7 leaders must ensure that global growth does not come at the expense of the environment. G7 leaders need to send a signal that they will retire the development-as-usual approach and pledge to implement sustainable development in all countries including their own.
“The economy and environment are natural partners for prosperity. G7 leaders need to recognize that the health of the planet is a critical precondition for economic development and that all nations need to contribute to this global cause,” said Lambertini.
The G7 comes in advance of UN meetings on development finance and the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. In addition to meeting an existing target to provide 0.7 per cent of gross national income for development assistance, wealthy nations should signal that they will go beyond the transfer of aid funds to implement innovative sources of financing including providing technology capacity.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to prioritize marine protection at this year's G7 meeting is strong recognition of the link between development and a healthy environment.
A recent WWF report highlighted this link by estimating that the ocean's annual economic output of US$2.4 trillion places it among the globe's largest economies. The study, Reviving the Ocean Economy, also highlighted threats to the ocean including overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change.
“The economic output of the ocean is equal to the world's seventh largest economy. This should be a powerful reminder of the importance of the ocean to G7 leaders. The ocean is critical to food security and economic well-being for much of the world's population and requires a strong show of G7 support,” said Lambertini.
At the G7 meeting, leaders should take measures to support ocean health by committing to policy, financing, trade and technology frameworks to restore and protect ocean ecosystems. In particular, G7 leaders must agree to combat pollution and ensure that sensitive deep-sea ecosystems are protected.