The nations that make up the G7 have invested billions of dollars more in fossil fuels than clean energy since the Covid-19 pandemic, despite their promises of an ecological recovery.
As the UK prepares to host the G7 summit, a new analysis reveals that attending countries pledged $ 189 billion to support oil, coal and gas between January 2020 and March 2021. By comparison, Same countries – UK, US, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, and Japan – spent $ 147 billion on clean forms of energy.
Support for fossil fuels from seven of the world’s richest nations included measures to eliminate or downgrade environmental regulations, as well as direct financing of oil, gas and coal.
Analysis by development charity Tearfund, the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Overseas Development Institute showed that nations missed opportunities to make their response to the pandemic greener. In most cases, the money provided to the fossil fuel industries was given without conditions, rather than with conditions that required a reduction in emissions or pollution. The analysis found that eight out of every $ 10 spent on non-renewable energy arrived unconditionally.
This included life preservers that were released to the aviation and automobile industries, which received $ 115 billion from the G7 countries. Of that money, 80% was given without any attempt to force sectors to reduce their emissions in exchange for support.
Only one in 10 dollars committed to the Covid-19 response benefited “cleaner” energies, such as renewables and energy efficiency measures.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will open the G7 summit in Cornwall on June 11. He has said he wants to unite nations to “rebuild better” from the coronavirus pandemic to create a greener and more prosperous future. In addition to the G7, the UK has invited South Africa, Australia, India and South Korea to participate.
Analysis of the stocks of the seven major Western economies over the past 15 months reveals that they are not yet investing on a sufficient scale in technologies that support the rapid decarbonization of their economies, and have not created green jobs at scale in response to Covid- 19. .
Paul Cook, head of advocacy for Tearfund, which operates in some of the world’s poorest countries hardest hit by global warming, said: “Every day, we witness the worsening consequences of the climate crisis for communities across the world. the world: farmers’ crop failures; floods and fires that devastated cities and towns; families facing an uncertain future.
“Decisions made now by the G7 countries will accelerate the transition to a climate-safe future for all or jeopardize efforts made to date to address the climate crisis.”
The G7 countries are among the most polluting in the world. They represent a tenth of the world’s population, but are responsible for almost a quarter of CO2 emissions.two emissions.
“Your actions can lay the groundwork for success or failure in the UN climate talks to be hosted by the UK in November,” Cook said.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, nations spent unprecedented amounts of public money; The world’s 50 largest economies are estimated to have committed at least $ 14.6 trillion to fiscal stimulus measures in 2020. The authors said well-designed and targeted stimuli could be used as a springboard to launch low-carbon societies.
The report analyzed the support that the seven nations, plus the other four invited to attend the summit in Cornwall, gave to five energy areas: cleaner energy, such as wind and solar; clean energy that can still depend on fossil fuel energy, such as electric vehicles; fossil fuel energy with conditions; fossil fuel energy without strings attached; and other energy sectors, including biofuels and nuclear energy.
The biggest support provided by the G7 countries was transportation. Bailouts were granted to companies such as Air France, British Airways, Ryanair, easyJet, Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, Alitalia, Renault and Honda. The financial support would end up sustaining highly polluting industries for decades to come, with very little pressure to “go green,” the authors said.
Since the bailouts, some G7 countries have increased their commitments to cleaner energy, including rail and electric vehicles. But the report said: “Investments in the transport sector remain significantly skewed towards fossil fuels and are at odds with the G7’s commitments to build back better.”
The underpinning of the oil and gas sectors was particularly evident in Canada and the United States, both major oil and gas producers. In addition to direct support, both countries repealed environmental regulations on fossil fuel companies.
Some G7 nations took positive steps to stop supporting dirty industries. In February, Italy extended the ban until September this year on fossil fuel drilling. The United Kingdom and France introduced policies designed to end international support for fossil fuels. The UK has also announced a ban on new gasoline and diesel cars by 2030.
“These actions should serve as a precedent for other G7 countries,” the report said.
This month, in the first comprehensive study of the journey to net zero, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that governments’ promises, even if fully delivered, were well below what was required to bring the world’s energy-related CO2two emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world a uniform opportunity to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels, as required by the Paris agreement.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism