G7 summit highlights climate change impact on resilience
by Lauren Rothschild, Global Resilience Institute
Last month, leaders from the seven largest advanced economies in the world convened at the annual G7 Summit to discuss economic policies and challenges facing their countries and the global economy. Much of this year’s focus was on the progression and consequences of global climate change, and the ways global politics can confront this issue to build resilient nations. As the subject has become increasingly recognized as an imminent threat to global economies, the summit reflected the various perspectives held by each participating nation.
At the summit, France unveiled its first ever “Fashion Pact,” a framework agreed upon by 32 major fashion retailers to address the impact their industry is having on the climate. The pact was initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron and the CEO of Kering, François-Henri Pinault. The non-binding agreement has goals to reduce emissions and use carbon-offset programs to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, achieve 100% renewable energy across their own operations (with the additional goal of creating incentives for suppliers using “high-impact manufacturing processes” to switch to renewables by 2030), eliminate single-use plastics by 2030, support innovation to eliminate micro-fiber pollution that results from washing synthetic materials, and support regenerative approaches to agriculture and programs that protect key species and ecosystems. Each of these measures aim to improve global resilience through combating climate change, restoring biodiversity, and fighting ocean pollution.
Also at the forefront of the G7’s climate change meeting was the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest caused by record setting wildfires. The blaze, which threatens global ecological stability and has disrupted daily life for many Brazilians, has been enabled by the prioritization of economic policy instead of environmental protections. Citing the Amazon as the source of 20% of the world’s oxygen production, the G7 Summit leaders collectively pledged $20 million to firefighting efforts, in addition to $12 million from Britain and $11 million from Canada. Following Brazil’s rejection of aid, leaders from Europe threatened to block deforestation-related economic activity between their nations and Brazil, showcasing the intersection of international trade and concerns over environmental resilience.
Though the Amazon’s fires continue to burn and France’s Fashion Pact remains just an agreement rather an enforcement, the acceptance of global climate change as an urgent and prioritized issue by the leaders of the world’s most advanced economies is a positive sign for bolstering resilience. As climate change intensifies, causing record heat waves, rising sea levels, severe storms and decreasing biodiversity among many other changes, the need to develop collective measures to ensure resilience on an international level has become all the more crucial.