G7’s Green Recovery: Promises Kept?

G7 2021 UK

The G7 countries have spent more on fossil fuels than clean energy since last March, a new study led by the non-profit Tearfund shows. From January 2020 through March of 2021, the seven countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) spent a combined $189 billion to support oil, coal, and gas versus $147 billion on clean energy projects. The fossil fuel money was mostly given without any conditions about emissions or pollution, and the biggest beneficiaries were bailouts to transportation companies like British Airways, Renault, and Honda.

Why This Matters

The economic upheaval of the pandemic and its accompanying stimulus could have been a chance to pump money into the country’s net-zero goals. Instead, it appears that the members propped up the very industries that are increasing carbon in the atmosphere. These seven countries are among the most polluting and the wealthiest on earth. These two superlatives are linked: the world’s richest nations cause disproportionate emissions. People living in G7 countries are only 10% of the global population but are responsible for nearly 25% of global emissions. These countries have the money to transition from carbon-intensive economies -- if only they would “walk the walk.”

This Quote Says It All

“Choices made now by the G7 countries will either accelerate the transition towards a climate-safe future for all, or jeopardise efforts to date to tackle the climate crisis,” Paul Cook, the head of advocacy at Tearfund, one of the groups involved in the analysis, said in a statement.

Recommendations for a Greener Recovery

The report offered a shortlist of suggestions for the seven countries going forward:

  • Get rid of no-strings-attached financial support for fossil fuels -- future funds should have “green strings” tied to spur clean energy
  • Increase the proportion of COVID-19 relief spending from 22% to 40%
  • Use financial power and influence to move toward a carbon-free future by doubling their financial commitment to lower-income countries, stopping financing for fossil fuel projects overseas, and persuading development banks to align with climate goals.

To Go Deeper

Check out the full report by Tearfund and its partners here.