Green Cities

Decarbonizing the Global Economy: the G7 Summit

At this year’s 41st G7 Summit, held in Germany, the Group of Seven (U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan) and the E.U. leaders agreed to decarbonize the global economy by 2100.

Urgent action is needed to address climate change. At the G7 Summit, countries reiterated sentiment from environmental experts that fossil fuels are the primary contributor to human induced climate change. They agreed to work toward cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 40~70% by 2050 compared to 2010 levels and to phase out the use of fossil fuels by 2100, a recommendation provided by the IPCC, the United Nations’ climate change panel. Additionally, to prevent increased global warming, leaders of the Group of Seven settled on limiting the average global temperature to rise by no more than 2° C. There is already consensus within the scientific community that greenhouse gases emissions that increase global temperatures beyond 2°C will irreversibly alter climatic regions all over the world.

Moreover, G7 leaders agreed to help fund the developing nations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the G7 countries would raise $100 billion a year from public and private sources by 2020 to help developing nations confront climate change.

A disappointment to many, no carbon reduction plans specific to G7 nations were addressed even though the G7 nation’s combined coal plants produce twice the amount of CO2 as the entire African continent. Responsibilities were delegated as Merkel also urged countries outside the G7, especially nothing China, the world’s largest emitter, to put effort in reaching this goal of decarbonization.

Others consider this agreement as meaningful in the sense that it is the first time G7 nations have proposed decarbonizing the global economy.  The G7 Summit is one more step on the road to Paris where in December, 196 nations will come together for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21).

Seoyoung Kim, Intern