G7 leaders were on Sunday urged to take urgent action to secure the future of the planet, as they finalised new conservation and emissions targets to curb climate change, and wrapped up a three-day summit where revived Western unity has been on show.
Veteran environmentalist and broadcaster David Attenborough told the gathering of the world’s richest nations the natural world was “greatly diminished” and inequality was widespread.
“The question science forces us to address specifically in 2021 is whether as a result of these intertwined facts we are on the verge of destabilising the entire planet?” he said.
“If that is so, then the decisions we make this decade — in particular the decisions made by the most economically advanced nations — are the most important in human history.”
The leaders, holding their first in-person gathering in nearly two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, will agree to protect at least 30 percent of both land and ocean globally by the end of the decade.
The “Nature Compact” struck to try to halt and reverse biodiversity loss is also set to see them commit to nearly halve their carbon emissions by 2030, relative to 2010.
It includes phasing out the use of “unabated coal” — fuel whose emissions have not gone through any filtering — “as soon as possible”, ending most government support for the fossil fuel sector overseas, and phasing out petrol and diesel cars.
Hailing the pact, host Boris Johnson said the G7 wanted to “drive a global Green Industrial Revolution to transform the way we live”.
“There is a direct relationship between reducing emissions, restoring nature, creating jobs and ensuring long-term economic growth,” the British prime minister added.
Climate change was a key G7 priority for Britain at the summit in Carbis Bay, southwest England, as it tries to lay the groundwork for hosting the UN COP26 environment summit in November.
But before the pledges had even been formally adopted, environmental campaigners blasted them as lacking enforcement and the necessary scope.