Human activity and burning fossil fuels for energy are causing the world’s climate to heat at an unprecedented rate.
According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, this changing climate is causing extreme weather crises such as intense fires, floods, and superstorms. The wealthiest countries in the world are disproportionately responsible for climate change, with the G7 member countries accounting for 25% of global energy-related carbon emissions, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
While extreme weather impacts billions of people worldwide, those living in poverty and vulnerable communities face the harshest consequences — despite having historically contributed least to global greenhouse gas emissions.
This is because they often lack the necessary resources to overcome extreme weather’s effects on their food supplies, water sources, homes, and livelihoods. As a result, global mass migration, conflict, and poverty rates will rise. In fact, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, increasingly extreme weather is forcing more than 20 million people to be internally displaced each year. The World Bank projects that as a result of climate change, 132 million people could fall into extreme poverty by 2030.
What’s the Solution?
We can stave off the worst consequences of climate change by preventing more than 1.5°C of global temperature rise (compared to pre-industrial levels). The world is already about 1.0°C warmer and at current trends, we are tracking to increase temperatures by 1.5°C within the next decade.
Preventing more than 1.5°C of warming will therefore require bold, transformative, and immediate action to transition to clean, renewable energy sources, such as from wind and solar.
Countries, especially the wealthiest, biggest emitters, must therefore reduce their “fair share” of emissions in order to stay within the climate models to prevent more than 1.5°C of warming established by the IPCC.
Wealthy countries that historically caused, and now disproportionately worsen climate change, to grow their economies must provide funding to support lower-income and vulnerable countries in creating and fostering strong green economies.
They must also financially support vulnerable communities’ efforts to adapt to extreme weather, and ensure no one is left behind. Furthermore, wealthy nations must contribute financial resources to poor and vulnerable communities that have already lost lives and billions of dollars due to climate change.
What Can the G7 Do?
As the richest economies, G7 members have the responsibility to finally fulfill their promise made in 2009 to provide $100 billion every year through 2025 in climate funding for developing countries.
This means they must fill the $10-15 billion gap toward this goal through fair share contributions, and must ensure these resources are new and additional to existing Official Development Assistance (ODA) budgets. This funding must also be split between mitigation and adaptation, and be provided through grants over loans whenever possible in order to avoid contributing to debt burdens in low-income and vulnerable countries.
The G7 must also take the lead in providing resources for the loss and damages already incurred by the poorest and most vulnerable communities around the world. To do so, the G7 must work with communities in extreme poverty and on the front lines of climate change around the world to assess the costs of the “loss and damages” they have already endured, and continue to experience, and ensure a transparent and equitable mechanism is established to disburse this funding. Resources provided for loss and damage must be new and additional to the $100 billion a year pledge for climate finance.
As the world’s biggest polluters, G7 governments must agree to urgent action to keep global warming below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial temperatures. To do so they must shift away from extracting and burning fossil fuels, and instead ramp of renewable energy sources.
This means, for instance, that G7 countries must phase out the use of coal-fueled energy by 2030, given coal-fired electricity was responsible for 30% of global carbon emissions in 2018. Furthermore, G7 countries must deliver on their promise to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, with transparent and public reporting toward this goal.
You can join Global Citizens around the world in urging the G7 to take the widespread and urgent action required to limit global warming and support all countries and communities in adapting to and mitigating the impacts of climate change. Join the movement by heading to our Climate Action NOW campaign page, and start taking action.
You can also take action through the Global Citizen app, where you can take our G7 Summit 101 Challenge, to learn more about the G7 and what they can do to tackle the world’s biggest challenges, and urge them to take action to end extreme poverty and its systemic causes NOW.