Sunday, August 1

Johnson’s G7: After all the hype, what was actually accomplished? | G7

Boris Johnson fought to present an agreement from the G7 world leaders in Cornwall as a breakthrough that would match the scale of the crises facing the world after the final statement from the rich nations club did not contain an early timetable to eradicate the carbon emissions, offered only an additional billion. vaccines for the world’s poor over the next 12 months, and made no new binding commitments to challenge human rights abuses in China.

Environmental groups and anti-poverty activists expressed deep disappointment that they failed to provide new funding for the communiqué’s aspirations to end the pandemic, “build back better” and save the world from an impending climate catastrophe.

British officials said the task of a G7 summit was to set a political roadmap rather than make detailed and binding financial commitments, which are more likely to be made at the G20 or the UN climate change summit in November. .

Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the result as “an unforgivable moral failure” that will kill thousands of people. He said, echoing the opinion of the World Health Organization, that the G7 had had to commit to distributing 11 billion vaccines, and not just one billion. He said he was disappointed that the G7 did not support mandatory patent transfers to boost production in Africa.

But Johnson, speaking at a closing press conference, said he hoped the summit would live up to optimistic hopes and predictions, adding that he knew that “the world was waiting for us to reject some of the selfishness and nationalistic approaches that spoiled the first initial responses. to the pandemic, and channel all our economic and scientific power to defeat Covid “.

He dismissed Brown’s criticism, saying the G7 had set a goal of vaccinating everyone before the end of the year. He said that of the 1.5 billion vaccines worldwide, 500 million were due to the agreement signed by the UK government with Oxford-AstraZeneca.

President Joe Biden, insisting that the United States was back at the table, said the United States could find a billion more next year, adding that fighting pandemics “can be an ongoing project for a long time.”

But Campaign One said the G7 had been set clear goals by the WHO and the other major multilateral bodies before the summit, which it had not met. Over the weekend, the WHO called for 70% of the world’s population to be vaccinated before the upcoming G7 summit in Germany next year. But One said the money will only “provide enough doses to vaccinate about 200 million people, 5.4% of the total population of these countries, by the end of the year. By the next G7 summit, only 10.3% of the population in low- and middle-income countries would be vaccinated with this agreement. “

Johnson also came under fire for weak commitments on climate change, and environmental groups said the G7 had agreed to “plan to make a plan.” Johnson said the entire G7 was committed to the goal of net zero emissions by 2050, and had made significant steps toward pledging $ 100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries, a claim disputed by aid agencies. .

On coal, the statement acknowledged that continued global investment in unabated coal power generation is incompatible with keeping 1.5 ° C within reach, and pledged to end new direct government support for thermal power generation. international with coal by the end of 2021.

On China, the United States, unable to secure a G7 consensus, issued a separate statement on the use of forced labor in Xinjiang. The final statement referred to keeping the Taiwan Strait open, the loss of democracy in Hong Kong and “called on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, especially in relation to Xinjiang.” Through the summit, some G7 leaders, particularly Germany, warned against alienating China at a time when Beijing’s help is needed to address climate change.

Biden defended the compromises, adding: “We are in a competition not with China itself, but with autocrats around the world, and whether democracies can compete with them in a rapidly changing world.” He called for new research on the origins of the pandemic and said that “it is important to know if this is due to a test that went wrong in a laboratory. We have not had access to their laboratories ”.

Johnson added that his official advice was that the virus was unlikely to be spread by a leak in a Chinese laboratory, but said that “any sensible person would keep an open mind about it.”

When asked if he was more ideologically in tune with Donald Trump than with Biden, Johnson claimed there were ideological similarities between his plans to level up and the Democrats’ infrastructure program.

But the summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, will likely be remembered less for its specific commitments than as a collective relaunch of multilateralism, the return of diplomacy in person after a hiatus of nearly two years and the departure from Trump’s chaotic style that effectively paralyzed the G7.

Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, praised Biden, saying he had brought “new momentum” to the G7’s efforts to address global challenges.

“It is not that the world is no longer in trouble because of the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States,” Merkel told reporters. “But we can work on solutions to those problems with new momentum. And I think it is very good that we have become more specific in this G7 ”.

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