Besides the Ukraine war, hunger and climate protection were the most important topics at the G7 summit – but what was really achieved?
The declarations of solidarity for Ukraine were once again strengthened – but the other important issues unfortunately took a back seat.
To defeat hunger, 28 billion US dollars in aid would be needed, the UN estimates. But the rich G7 countries have now pledged just 4.5 billion US dollars. At the last summit at Schloss Elmau in 2015, the rich countries promised to reduce the number of hungry people by 500 million. But virtually nothing has happened.
On the contrary: in 2022, there will be about 300 million more hungry people than seven years ago. Instead, military spending is now rising worldwide. And in Germany alone, it was decided within a few days that an additional 100 billion euros would be spent on the military.
On top of that: In the food industry, there will be sixteen billionaires more in 2022 than in 2015, but far more hungry people. An indictment of the politicians in the richest countries of our world.
The danger of nuclear war is growing
The Physicians’ Organization for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), on the new arms race: “Currently it is completely lost sight of the fact that peace cannot be secured with more and more weapons. With the 100 billion arms package, the German government also wants to acquire new F-35 nuclear bombers. Instead of further rearmament, it is urgently necessary to think about how a common security architecture in Europe – including Russia – can be reconstituted after the Ukraine war.”
To really combat climate change as well, there is only one remedy: a rapid departure from fossil fuels. This was also agreed at the last world climate summit in Glasgow in 2021. But the G7 summit in 2022 remained inactive on the climate issue.
Criticism from environmental associations
The main point of criticism from the environmental associations is Chancellor Scholz’s decision to provide financial support to Senegal for the development of gas fields off the west coast of Africa. In the view of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the chancellor and his summit colleagues have thus set in motion a “global race for LNG exports, new gas production and public funds” that undermines the planned phase-out of coal, gas and oil.
Even the new secretary of state at the State Department, ex-Greenpeace leader Jennifer Morgen, said after the summit, “We can’t get anything done without more social pressure.” And, speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, she added: “There’s a big gap between what science says is needed and what came out (at the G7 summit).”
The G7 summit did not bring a turning point for the fight against poverty and for the climate crisis. In the last Bundestag election campaign, Olaf Scholz still had himself announced as “climate chancellor.” In Elmau, he was more of a “fossil fuel chancellor” – at least temporarily. But that, too, is probably due to the Ukraine war.
Two rays of hope from Elmau
One ray of hope is the energy partnerships with India, Indonesia, Senegal and Vietnam announced at Schloss Elmau. These emerging economies are to receive financial support from the G7 countries for the energy transition. Likewise, the “climate club” announced by Chancellor Scholz could be a step forward: By the end of 2022, as many of the world’s governments as possible should join the G7 countries in pledging higher targets for phasing out fossil fuels and also implementing them quickly.
The second Elmau summit did reaffirm on paper the Paris goal that “measured against pre-industrial times, it must not get warmer than 1.5 degrees.” But the first Elmau summit and the seven years in between have shown what a difference there is between the hopeful and full-bodied summit declarations and the actual lack of action afterwards.