The upcoming G7 Summit hosted by Germany presents a critical opportunity to demand change from leaders positioned to change the course of history. From June 26 to June 28, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the USA, and the European Union will meet.
The G7 accounts for nearly 40% of the global economy and the burning of 25% of global fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) for energy, the primary source (over 85 percent) of greenhouse gas pollution.
Every day, we are feeling and witnessing the effects of climate change – drought, wildfire, floods, extreme heat, hurricanes, sea-level rise, biodiversity loss – and this is just the beginning. The science is clear: governments must do more to avert climate catastrophe, but it is also possible, and a cleaner-greener world awaits.
In November 2021, Germany’s new coalition government pledged that Germany would use its G7 presidency to establish climate partnerships, along with an “international climate club” which would be open to all countries.
From January 2022 to May 2022, a dozen Citizens’ Climate International (CCI) members from 10 countries worked within and carefully monitored several civil society networks representing over 300 global organisations that sent demands to the G7 in Germany this year.
The day after World Environment Day (June 5), CCI launched a digital letter campaign to the G7 leaders based on the key climate demands sent to the G7 leaders. The campaign is called “G7 Leaders Steer Us to Safety”. Currently, release over 500 letters have been sent to the G7 leaders from 58 countries including over 200 letters sent from the Global South.
The G7 has shown itself capable of steering the G7 economies to safety during times of crises. It emerged out of the energy crisis in the early 1970s. It navigated the economy out of the financial collapse in 2007-2008. The G7 in Germany June 26 to June 28 is their moment. The letter reads as follows:
Dear Leaders of the G7,
The word government comes from the Latin word “gubernare” which means “to steer”. The primary duty of our governments is to create policies that will steer us away from danger both immediate and long-term. These policies must be rooted in a human-rights and gender-justice framework.
We are in danger. The three recent IPCC reports warn unequivocally that human activity is creating climate change and the impacts will be catastrophic unless rapid and drastic actions are taken within the next eight years. These impacts are already frequent and severe and will continue to hit hardest those who least contribute to the climate crisis.
At this critical moment, you have the power to transform our global economy and create a resilient and equitable world. Since the energy crisis of the early 1970s, you have been building the economic and social frameworks to steer us to safety at times of crisis. We can and must transform our economies away from fossil fuels at wartime speed. To protect us all from climate catastrophe, the G7 leaders must:
- Rapidly redirect financial flows away from fossil fuels and towards an equitable and resilient future. These policies must align with the Net Zero Scenario from the International Energy Agency (IEA).
- Negotiate the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to complement the Paris Agreement and financially support a rapid, equitable, and managed phase-out of fossil fuels.
- Finance successful adaptation and resilience measures to keep vulnerable communities safe from preventable harm.
We are in a Code Red emergency. There is a narrow window of opportunity for successful climate-resilient development; we have no time to lose. Every action you take could save millions of lives. This is your moment. History has its eyes on all of you.
No one is safe until we are all safe. Anyone wishing to send a letter asking the G7 leaders to steer us to safety can do so here: https://citizensclimate.earth/2022/06/12/g7-leaders-steer-us-to-safety/
Deadline: Friday, June 24, 2022.
By Michael Terungwa