Why is India not in the G7?
The Group of Seven (G7) is not an international organization, but an informal forum for heads of state and government, at which questions of the world economy and foreign policy are to be discussed in small groups.
The G7 includes Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, the USA and Canada. The European Union is also represented at all meetings. The Group of Eight (G8) comprised the G7 countries mentioned between 1998 and 2014 plus Russia.
Meanwhile, within the framework of the G7, meetings at various levels take place throughout the year, in which the states agree on common positions on a large number of policy areas.
The chairmanship of the G7 changes annually among the members.
The G7 activities in environmental policy
The environment has long been a fixture on the G7 / G8 policy agenda. The focus was always on current issues such as climate protection, biodiversity, protection of forests, the fight against environmental crime and protection of the oceans, but above all directly economically relevant topics.
A milestone in environmental policy was the initiative adopted in Genoa in 2001 and subsequently successfully taken to anchor the issue of trade and the environment as a key issue in the world trade round in Doha.
The issue of climate protection was the first focus of the G8 summit in 2005 in Gleneagles, Scotland. As a result, the action plan "Climate change, clean energy and sustainable development" was discussed by the heads of state and government. In 2007, under the German G8 presidency, the basis for the global long-term climate target was laid. The goal is for global greenhouse gas emissions to be cut at least in half by 2050.
A second major success was the drawing up of a roadmap for achieving a UN climate protection agreement. Biodiversity also made its way onto the G8 agenda for the first time during the German G8 presidency. With the "Potsdam Initiative for Biological Diversity 2010", concrete activities in the fields of science, economy, trade, financing and the protection of the world's oceans were initiated. In Heiligendamm, the major emerging countries China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa - the so-called "G8 + 5 countries" - were invited to the G8 summit for the first time.
As part of the "Heiligendamm Process", the G8 countries and the emerging countries decided to work together particularly closely in various areas, including energy efficiency. In 2009, under the Italian G8 presidency, the long-term climate target was expanded to include the base year 1990. The G8 countries also acknowledged the need to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. In the years that followed, the G8 and G7 continued to support the goals and activities of international climate protection policy. At the summit of the G7 leaders in Taormina, Italy, on May 26th and 27th, 2017, however, no uniform line on climate protection could be achieved between the seven. While six heads of state and government as well as the EU reaffirmed their emphatic commitment to swiftly implement the Paris climate agreement, the USA did not see itself in a position to join this consensus. During the German G7 presidency in 2015, in addition to climate protection and the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development, other environmental issues also played a major role, including the fields of resource efficiency, pollution of the oceans and nuclear safety.
In addition to the annual summits of the heads of state and government, the G7 environment ministers have also met at irregular intervals over the past few years to discuss key environmental issues. The most recent meeting of the G7 environment ministers took place in Bologna from 11 to 12 June 2017 under the Italian chairmanship and had a number of topics on the agenda, including climate change, the SDG / 2030 agenda, sustainable financial instruments, environmental protection and employment, resource efficiency, marine litter, ecological financial reform and Africa. Two side events on the fringes of the environment ministers' meeting brought together representatives from the university sector and from business enterprises from the G7 countries, who dealt with key issues of environmental protection and sustainability in their social area and presented the results in a final report to the ministerial group.
In addition, meetings between the energy and environment ministers of the 20 largest energy consuming countries and the International Energy Agency took place between 2005 and 2008 (the so-called Gleneagles Dialogue).
Results of the G7 / G8 summits
At their meeting in Halifax, Canada on May 18-19. September 2018, the G7 environment ministers, together with representatives of this year's G7 partner countries, international organizations and business, discussed issues relating to climate protection, the circular economy and resource efficiency. A round table on sustainable financing with high-ranking representatives from the predominantly Canadian financial sector, industry and science was preceded by this.
Together with the ministers responsible for ocean and energy issues in the G7 countries, the environment ministers also discussed topics of marine littering, resource efficiency, illegal fishing, the resilient design of coastlines and coastal communities and the protection of marine biodiversity on September 20, 2018. The G7 ministers have adopted a joint paper on combating marine litter and reducing plastic waste, the "G7 Innovation Challenge to Address Marine Plastic Litter". The paper mainly contains national and international measures to promote research and innovation in this area and to intensify cooperation with emerging and developing countries.
To strengthen the resilience of coastal areas and coastal communities to extreme weather events and the consequences of climate change and to improve coastal zone management, the G7 have also agreed to make remote sensing data, such as satellite observation, more accessible and usable for these purposes. This paper, called G7 Initiative on Earth Observation and Integrated Coastal Zone Management, also contains an appendix listing all existing and planned relevant earth observation missions. In addition, Canada recorded the results of the ministerial meetings in a summary of the presidency.
The consultations at the 2017 summit under the Italian Presidency, which took place in Taormina on 26 and 27 May, were, in some cases, quite controversial in the light of the new political situation. An agreement was reached between the seven in most areas, for example in the areas of foreign and security policy, counter-terrorism, global economy and trade as well as the 2030 Agenda, food security and Africa.
In the area of climate and energy, however, no consistent line could be achieved between the seven. There was agreement on strengthening common energy security, ensuring open, transparent, liquid and secure global markets for energy resources and technologies, and the need for the highest standards in nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation. The seven Heads of State or Government and the EU are also determined to capitalize on the significant economic growth and job creation opportunities that energy restructuring and clean technologies will bring.
With regard to the Paris Climate Agreement, however, only six G7 countries and the EU were able to reaffirm their emphatic commitment from the 2016 summit in Ise-Shima to swift implementation. Given the ongoing review of its climate change policies and the Paris Agreement, the US was unable to join this consensus.
The Japanese Prime Minister Abe invited the heads of state and government of the G7 to the summit meeting on May 26th and 27th in Ise-Shima, on the Japanese peninsula of Kashikojama. After very ambitious environmental policy statements had taken a large part at Schloss Elmau last year, the focus of the current declaration can be seen more clearly in the classic foreign and economic policy area. The seven heads of state and government want to stimulate the global economy together and also spoke about the causes of flight, the fight against terrorism, sanctions against Russia and equality for women, among other things.
Key messages on climate change: The G7 pledge to take a leadership role in ratifying the Paris Agreement as quickly as possible, implementing national contributions (NDCs) and developing and communicating long-term mitigation strategies (well before the 2020 deadline). The G7 continue to support developing countries and underline the ongoing importance of the Elmau initiatives. In addition, the G7 appeal to the International Aviation Organization (ICAO) to enable low-carbon growth by adopting a global market-based measure from 2020 and welcome an amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2016 with the aim of phasing out the use of partially halogenated fluorocarbons (HFCs). It is also gratifying that climate aspects are mentioned as a point of reference at various points in the summit declaration.
It is also noteworthy that the importance of the energy sector for the implementation of the Paris Agreement is underlined. In addition to a strong focus on statements on energy security and the security of gas supply, Elmau's central decarbonization target is also mentioned (without renewed mention of the time horizon) and the G7's support for renewable energies and energy efficiency is confirmed. It is also particularly important that the G7 call on all countries to end subsidies for fossil fuels by 2025.
The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are mentioned in numerous chapters in the final document and serve as a guideline for joint cooperation. Central principles of the 2030 Agenda such as the universal obligation to implement, the balanced consideration of the three dimensions of sustainability and the transformation to sustainable management and the integrated approach are taken into account. With the summit declaration, the G7 makes it clear that it wants to fulfill its obligation to implement the 2030 agenda universally, which can be seen as an important sign for global implementation.
Fortunately, after the Elmau summit, resource efficiency was once again included in the G7 summit declaration and has thus become an integral part of the G7 agenda. The forward-looking decisions on resource efficiency at the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau were consistently continued and developed under the Japanese G7 presidency. The summit communiqué underlines the great importance of resource efficiency in the context of the 2030 Agenda in order to make global resource consumption sustainable and fair. In this context, the littering of the seas is also addressed and the commitment of the G7 to continue devoting itself to the topic is confirmed. The "Toyama Framework on material cycles" agreed at the meeting of the G7 environment ministers in Toyama (May 15 and 16) was endorsed by the heads of state and government and contains clear commitments and work assignments for the coming years. In this context, the G7 Alliance for Resource Efficiency and cooperation with business and other actors, which was founded under the German Presidency, will be honored.
In the area of nuclear safety, the G7 take note of the report of the Nuclear Safety and Security Group (NSSG) and confirm their commitment to the highest safety standards. You emphasize, among other things, the importance of the role of the Nuclear Security Convention and welcome the result of the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington.
In June 2014, Germany took over the G7 chairmanship. In addition to economic, foreign and security policy, environmental issues play an important role. The 2015 summit took place on June 7th and 8th at Schloss Elmau in Krün in the Free State of Bavaria.
The heads of state and government of the G7 met from June 4-5, 2014 in Brussels. On March 24, 2014, they decided to suspend their cooperation with Russia due to the illegal annexation of Crimea and to meet in Brussels instead of Sochi, Russia, in the G7 format.
Although the meeting was shaped by developments in Ukraine and the relationship with Russia, the heads of government endeavored to send important signals primarily on the topics of foreign policy, global economy, energy / climate and development policy / Africa.
The G7 launched an initiative to increase energy security. In addition to short-term measures for winter 2014/15 such as risk analyzes and emergency plans, the International Energy Agency will work with the European Commission to develop an action plan to increase the security of gas supply by the end of 2014.
The G7 energy ministers will meet again in 2015 under the German presidency and further develop this initiative.
In the run-up to the summit, Germany made a strong commitment to the G7 addressing climate issues. In Brussels, the G7 renewed its commitment to limit the rise in the global average temperature to below two degrees. Furthermore, as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, the G7 is working to ensure that in 2015 a global agreement - a new protocol, another legal instrument or an agreement with legal effect within the framework of the agreement that or which applies to all contracting parties for the period after 2020 is accepted. The G7 welcomed the United Nations Secretary General's climate summit in September 2014. The G7 also reaffirmed the commitment of the developed countries to jointly mobilize US $ 100 billion annually by 2020 for climate finance. The G7 welcomed the adoption of the regulations governing the functioning of the Green Climate Fund as well as the decision to start mobilizing the first resources in the coming months. The G7 will work towards phasing out the production and consumption of fluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.
The G7 underlined its particular responsibility in drawing up the post-2015 agenda for sustainable development. It strives for an ambitious and universal agenda based on unified, clear and measurable goals.
From now on, Germany will hold the G7 presidency.
For the 2013 summit, Prime Minister Cameron invited the G8 heads of state and government to Lough Erne in Northern Ireland on June 17th and 18th. This time the consultations were strongly influenced by foreign policy issues; In addition, the British Presidency had placed an emphasis on the three so-called "T-themes" (Trade, Tax and Transparency) in order to promote growth, prosperity and economic development in the world.
Climate change - as one of the greatest challenges for our future economic growth and prosperity - has also been a concern of the G8 leaders. They remain firmly committed to the urgent need to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions before and after 2020 in order to make their contribution to effectively limiting global warming to below two degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. To this end, the heads of the G8 states have announced ambitious and transparent measures under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, both in their own country and internationally. They affirm that they will work on a new, comprehensive and binding climate agreement for all, the conclusion of which is to be ensured by 2015 and entry into force by 2020, as well as on increasing the level of ambition to reduce greenhouse gases before 2020. These measures are to be supplemented by further activities in other forums.
Two years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, it remains a priority for the G8 leaders to strive for and maintain the greatest possible nuclear safety worldwide. Further energy issues were not an issue at the summit this time. The work assignments to the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Organization from the last summit in Camp David continue.
As part of the British focus on transparency, the G8 leaders at their summit adopted, among other things, an "Open Data" charter for more transparency in public data and the use of modern technologies. The two key areas of democracy and the environment have been selected as the next joint G8 action areas, with the aim of providing corresponding data sets by December 2014. In the environmental sector, Germany already has a good basis for this with the Environmental Information Act, the Geodata Access Act and the Ordinance on Specifying the Conditions of Use for the provision of federal geodata and databases on various environmental data.
The G8 summit in 2012, which took place on May 18 and 19 under the US presidency in Camp David, traditionally focused on the discussion of the global economic situation. Other focal points were energy and climate change, the continuation of the initiative for food security in Africa as well as the Deauville partnership with the states of the Arab Spring and support for civil reconstruction in Afghanistan.
In their summit declaration, the G8 states underline the importance of a broad energy mix as well as environmentally friendly, sustainable, safe and inexpensive energy for global economic growth and for the fight against climate change. Specifically, an appendix to the summit declaration (so-called fact sheet) shows examples of joint G8 action in the following areas: energy security; Energy mix and energy infrastructure; Use of renewable energies; Oil supply security; Energy efficiency, product efficiency; short-lived climate-relevant pollutants. The G8 heads of state and government also emphatically support the results of the Durban climate conference in 2011, in particular the implementation of the Cancún agreements from 2010 and the establishment of the so-called Durban platform. The Durban Platform is recognized as a major breakthrough in negotiating a new, all-party international agreement by 2015. The need to raise the level of ambition for measures to reduce greenhouse gases before 2020, so that the goal of limiting global warming to below two degrees compared to the pre-industrial level can be achieved.
As a supplement to the activities in international climate protection policy to reduce long-lived greenhouse gases, the G8 countries have also decided to support measures to reduce so-called short-lived climate-relevant pollutants and, in this respect, announced that the "Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived", founded in February 2012 Climate Pollutants "(CCAC). Synergies between climate protection and other environmental areas (in particular air pollution control, protection of the ozone layer) are to be expected, especially if the coalition supports the existing processes in the field of international air pollution control.
From May 26 to 27, 2011, the G8 countries met in Deauville, France. The main focus of the French Presidency was on the Internet, nuclear safety, development / Africa and security policy. In their declaration, the G8 states continue to commit to the goals of limiting global warming to below two degrees Celsius and reducing emissions from industrialized countries by at least 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 or a later base year.
In addition, the heads of state and government are in favor of the rapid development of a low-carbon economy, reaffirm the goal of a comprehensive, binding and all-state climate protection agreement and speak to the South African presidency of the UN climate negotiations, which will take place from November 28 to December 9, 2011 in Durban took their support off. The establishment of a global climate finance fund is also expressly welcomed.
In the area of biodiversity, particular recognition was given to the results of the UN negotiations on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which took place in Nagoya, Japan, last autumn, among other things on the question of "Access to genetic resources and fair benefit sharing" (ABS) . In addition, the establishment of an international science council on biological diversity (IPBES) was welcomed. Other key topics were the topic of "green growth" and - also in response to the events in Fukushima in March 2011 - nuclear safety and the demand for a comprehensive international review of nuclear facilities.
The main focus of the G8 summit, which took place on June 26, 2010 in Muskoka, Canada, was on the areas of development / Africa, international foreign and security policy and environmental protection. This year, too, the G8 countries dealt with the issue of climate protection. The 2-degree target recognized in the previous year and the concept of peaking (peak of emissions) were confirmed again in Muskoka. This also applies to the long-term goal of the G8 to reduce emissions from industrialized countries by at least 80 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 or a later base year, as well as to the global long-term goal, which envisages at least halving global emissions by 2050; however, a base year has not yet been specified for the latter.
The G8 states are committed to providing the so-called "fast start" climate finance promised in Copenhagen for the years 2010 to 2012 and welcome the work of the High-Level Advisory Group on climate finance set up by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In addition, the G8 states agree on increased cooperation in the area of adaptation to climate change.
Biodiversity was first put on the G8 agenda in 2007 under the German G8 presidency. In Muskoka, the G8 recognized the great importance of biodiversity to human well-being, as well as the fact that the 2010 biodiversity target is not being met. The international goal envisages a significant reduction in species extinction by 2010. The G8 supports Japan with a view to the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and supports the need to establish a political framework for the period after 2010. In addition, the G8 welcomes the establishment of the international scientific body for biodiversity (IPBES).
The G8 and emerging countries agree on a 2-degree target for the first time
The G8 summit took place from July 8-10, 2009 in the earthquake-affected city of L'Aquila (Italy). The focus of the summit was on the global economic and financial crisis, climate change and increased cooperation between the industrialized countries, Africa and the emerging economies. On the second day of the G8 summit, the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), initiated by the USA in 2007, met to discuss new strategies to combat climate change. The Major Economies Forum includes the sixteen largest economies in the world, i.e. the G8 countries, as well as China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, South Korea, Australia and Indonesia.
Denmark, as the host of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, and Sweden, as the EU Council Presidency, also took part in the MEF meeting. The MEF countries produce around 80 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted globally each year. The format has proven to be an important complementary process for international climate policy.
The concrete results in detail:
A major step forward is that both the G8 states and the most important emerging countries have agreed to limit the increase in average temperature to a maximum of two degrees compared to the pre-industrial level.
The G8 partners acknowledged their pioneering role in climate protection and agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries by 80 percent or more by 2050. With regard to this long-term goal of the industrialized countries, the G8 declaration names "1990 or a later year" as the base year, although efforts must be comparable.
The global long-term goal of a greenhouse gas reduction of at least 50 percent by 2050 was confirmed and strengthened by the G8, but a base year was not named.
In the Major Economies Forum it was agreed with the important emerging countries to work together by Copenhagen to identify a global long-term goal by 2050. As part of the Major Economies Forum, the emerging economies also declared themselves ready to take immediate action in order to achieve a significant ("meaningful") deviation from the "business-as-usual" emissions path. They should be supported financially and technologically.
The concept of so-called peaking (the apex of global greenhouse gas emissions) was enshrined in the G8 and MEF declarations. A specific peak year has not yet been agreed, but there was agreement that the peak must occur as early as possible.
The G8 declared their readiness to contribute their fair share to the financing of global climate protection and advocated the development and implementation of an effective financing mechanism for a post-2012 regime. All countries (with the exception of the least developed) should participate in the financing of global climate protection according to criteria to be developed.
At the summit it was also agreed to press ahead with expanding the carbon market. The goal: to combine national and sub-national emissions trading systems in order to create a global carbon market. The emerging and developing countries should be included in this process.
The G8 states reaffirmed their goal of significantly reducing the global loss of biodiversity by 2010. The heads of state and government also recognized the need to develop a "vision" for maintaining biodiversity for the period after 2010. The summit declaration also provides for support for the Potsdam Initiative for Biodiversity adopted in Heiligendamm in 2007 and emphasizes the TEEB study ("The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity") contained therein, which examines the economic value of biodiversity.
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