The leaders of some of the world’s wealthiest countries – with the notable exception of China – published a joint statement following the end of the G7 summit on Sunday vowing a “new deal” for the continent of Africa and heavy investment in a “green revolution” for the world.
The statement also meandered into a wide variety of topics including the war in eastern Ukraine, “hate speech,” imposing a minimum global tax, and improving job prospects for women. The statement repeatedly championed “multilateralism” – a term typically used by rogue states to mean a world not ruled by universal human rights norms – and promised to “build back better,” a term popularized by United Nations programs later adopted by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The “joint communique,” presumably representing the desires and commitments of all seven states in the summit, addressed the Chinese coronavirus pandemic repeatedly, but touched only briefly on China itself, recommending new investigations into the origin of the pandemic and obliquely referring to concerns about “forced labor” in the global market – at a time in which China uses slaves belonging to ethnic minority groups for manufacturing and cotton harvesting.
The summit – featuring the leaders of America, the U.K., Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy, and invited guests India, South Africa, Australia, and South Korea – concluded on Sunday.
The G7 leaders promised to “protect our planet by supporting a green revolution that creates jobs, cuts emissions and seeks to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees [Celsius].” Part of that commitment included reiterating the importance of the Paris Climate Agreement, which allows the world’s worst pollution, China, to increase greenhouse gas emissions for at least another decades. India, one of the world’s most egregious climate culprits outside of China, did not, apparently, sign on to the promises in the statement.
Instead, the G7 nations agreed to all reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
“[W]e collectively commit to ambitious and accelerated efforts to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and by 2050 at the latest, recognising the importance of significant action this decade,” the joint communique read. “In line with this goal, we have each committed to increased 2030 targets.”
Among measures to reach that goal was also a promise to “phase out new direct government support for international carbon-intensive fossil fuel energy as soon as possible” and to eliminate “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” in four years, without defining what constitutes “inefficient.” The statement also stated the countries would pressure “private capital” to participate in environmental activities by supporting “developing countries and emerging markets in making the most of the opportunities in the transition” towards the “green revolution.”
Elsewhere in the statement, the G7 promised to help underdeveloped countries in Africa with a “new deal” of at least $80 billion in private investment there. Africa is home to 54 countries; the statement did not specify where or towards what the $80 billion would go, or when African leaders would receive it, specifying only that it would arrive within the next five years and go towards “sustainable economic recovery.”
“As we advance recovery plans to support our economies and build back better … developing partner countries, especially in Africa, cannot be left behind,” the joint statement read. “We are deeply concerned that the pandemic has set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and continues to exacerbate global inequalities, and therefore recommit to enhance our efforts to achieve the SDGs by 2030.”
“We are resolved to deepen our current partnership to a new deal with Africa, including by magnifying support from the International Monetary Fund for countries most in need to support our aim to reach a total global ambition of $100 billion,” it affirmed.
Mainstream Western news outlets interpreted the promises to Africa as a counterweight to China’s sprawling Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global debt trap program that has heavily preyed upon nations like Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. Under the guise of a world infrastructure initiative to improve transportation in underdeveloped parts of the world, China offered high-interest loans to countries that can largely not pay them – resulting in the countries defaulting and Beijing seizing their property. That threat has grown significantly in light of the economic devastation caused by the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, but Communist Party officials have rejected the possibility of forgiving the loans.
The interpretation of the African investment as a challenge to China is necessary due to a lack of direct language that addresses the threat the Communist Party poses to the free world. Other than a threat to “harness the power of democracy, freedom, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights” to unspecified ends, the G7 largely avoided addressing China as a threat to the world’s security.
“With regard to China, and competition in the global economy, we will continue to consult on collective approaches to challenging non-market policies and practices which undermine the fair and transparent operation of the global economy,” one segment of the statement read. In another, the group called “for a timely, transparent, expert-led, and science-based WHO [World Health Organization]-convened Phase 2 [Chinese coronavirus] Origins study including, as recommended by the experts’ report, in China.”
The leaders also addressed “forced labour in global supply chains” – a concern almost entirely fueled by China’s use of concentration camp victims as slaves – but did not mention China in regards to that concern.
World experts largely panned the statement as non-commital and vague, according to Reuters.
“This summit was an opportunity for the richest nations of the world to tackle the perfect storm of the pandemic, the climate emergency, and the debt crisis that is hitting the world’s poorest people hardest. The G7 leadership has failed to make real progress in any of these areas,” Patrick Watt, the director of policy and campaigns at Christian aid, told Reuters.
“This summit feels like a broken record of the same old promises,” Greenpeace U.K. Executive Director John Sauven lamented to the news agency.