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G7 leaders share a bold vision for a net zero future. But the devil is in the lack of detail

June 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 28.6%. 2 min read.

Climate change is rarely a main talking point at the G7 leaders' summit, but as US President Joe Biden proclaimed that "America is back at the table" on the final day of this year's meeting, by extension, so too was climate change.

Falmouth, England (CNN)Climate change is rarely a main talking point at the G7 leaders' summit, but as US President Joe Biden proclaimed that "America is back at the table" on the final day of this year's meeting, by extension, so too was climate change.

There was concrete progress earlier in the summit from G7 ministers, and a vision laid out by leaders for a net zero world (where all greenhouse gases emitted are removed from the atmosphere) that would take a green approach to everything, from the economic recovery from the pandemic to the way new infrastructure is built in the developing world.

"We were really expecting to see the G7 step up and send a strong signal ahead of COP26 that they've really done their homework and were ready to act," she told CNN, referring to international climate change talks planned in Glasgow later this year.

"Even with new announcements from Germany and Canada, all G7 countries need to go further and faster with their individual commitments as well as take collective responsibility for achieving the $100 billion goal before COP26," Pettengell said.

Canada pledged to reach net zero by 2050, two decades later than some of its G7 allies.

Ahead of the leaders' summit, ministers in finance, and environment and energy hammered out some breakthrough agreements, including making it mandatory for big business to disclose the climate impacts of their operations by 2022; to protect 30% of their country's land and sea by 2030, in line with scientific advice; and to stop funding coal generation around the world by year's end, an important step to phase out the world's dirtiest fossil fuel.

And in recognition that climate change measures need to be integrated in both the economic recovery from the pandemic and all future approaches to infrastructure and development, the G7 launched a vision for an alternative to China's Belt and Road initiative called, a little less memorably, the "Build Back Better World" plan, which will promote sustainable, low-carbon development.

Net zero will not bring an end to the emission of carbon or the use of fossil fuels, Smit told CNN.

"If Eden can demonstrate, and do the measuring, to give confidence to others to know how this works, we don't need to change the world -- the world is full of smarter people than us," Smit said.

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