G7 must act with urgency to meet climate commitments – and then do more
Commenting on the upcoming meeting of the Group of 7 (G7) in Sicily, WWF’s global Climate & Energy Practice leader Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, said it was incumbent on the G7 members to accelerate decarbonisation to limit warming to well below 2.0°C, aiming for 1.5°C, as set out in the global climate Paris Agreement.
The G7 countries are Italy, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, the United States, the UK plus the European Union.
“The G7 leaders are meeting just months after 2016 was declared the hottest year ever. The signs are there. The world is unbalanced and human-induced emissions is the main cause. Rising temperatures are affecting the lives and livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities. Biodiversity loss is weakening nature’s ability to provide the services on which human survival depends,” he said.
So while it will require a huge collective effort to tackle the challenges of climate change, the efforts of the G7 would be significant. “They must rally the political will needed to take immediate climate action at scale. Yes, the plan for climate action must be addressed in the UNFCCC. But informal discussions between leaders – such as will occur in Sicily this weekend – can result in increased momentum,” said Pulgar-Vidal.
“Any uncertainty about the US commitment to the Paris Agreement should be a call to action for governments worldwide to double down on their own commitments and hold each other accountable. No single government will define the ultimate outcome of our efforts to address climate change,” he said.
WWF-Italy’s Mariagrazia Midulla said the Pope’s meeting with US President Trump yesterday was timeous. “The choice to make the gift of the Encyclical Laudato Sì to President Trump highlights the Pope as a very important actor for all those who are committed to saving the planet from climate change.
“The speed and scale of the climate challenge has always required solutions from all sectors of society, including the religious sector. Globally, political leaders have the support they need to accelerate their progress, and it’s coming from cities, regional governments, businesses and the public.
“Italy’s motto for its G7 presidency is “building the foundations for renewed trust” with citizens," says Midulla. "In order to build real trust, it is important that Italy - and the other G7 leaders - maintain their commitments on climate and for the Paris Agreement, and increase them as the urgency of the problem requires. This is not the time to falter. It is the time to show reliability.”
Countries which do will reap the economic benefits in the form of increased jobs, improved health for citizens and a clean, safe environment, she said.
G7 countries should also fulfil their commitments with the most vulnerable countries on climate finance.
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