G7 countries must fulfill commitments to combat climate crisis

G7 countries must fulfill commitments to combat climate crisis

In Hiroshima this weekend, G7 nations have a chance to make good on broken promises. Though host country Japan has committed more than 6.5 trillion yen (US$47 billion) over the next five years to support developing nations, other countries have a great deal of work to do to fulfill and strengthen their commitments to mobilizing financing to help developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change.

G7 nations, all of which are in the Global North, have failed to meet their prior commitments to bridge gaps in climate funding. These nations continue to fall short of their COP21 pledge of mobilizing US$100 billion per year in climate aid for developing nations.

It is imperative that they do meet their commitment. Last year highlighted the drastic impact of climate change, especially on Global South nations like Turkey, Indonesia and Pakistan as they grapple not just to recover from natural disasters but also bolster their struggling economies.

Currently, as many as 3.6 billion people live in countries that are highly vulnerable to climate impacts, and those impacts have turned out to be more extensive and severe than anticipated. With each fractional increase in global warming, it is likely that we will see an increase in future hazards, which will exacerbate the inequities that already exist among nations.

The Vulnerable 20 – a group of nations systemically vulnerable to climate change – have disproportionately been on the receiving end of the catastrophic consequences of climate change, spending a total of $525 billion since 2000 to recover from disasters.

Experts and leaders have asked G7 nations to strengthen their commitment to helping vulnerable countries respond to such disasters. The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report estimates that developing countries will require $127 billion per year by 2030, and $295 billion per year by 2050, to adapt to climate change.

The Group of Seven must act on their announced commitments – and make new ones. According to a 2022 report by CARE, even though the G7 member nations reported an estimated 85% of $220 million climate finance contribution to the United Nations between 2011 and 2018, a major chunk of this investment was taken from existing development aid budgets.

They used funds intended for existing efforts in education, health, poverty alleviation, and gender equality, while providing only 2% of new, additional climate finance. During this period, the G7 prioritized financing neither climate mitigation and adaptation nor sustainable development. We know, however, that climate change is intricately linked to all the other Sustainable Development Goals – and collective action is our only way forward.

By demonstrating how climate finance needs are evolving relative to flows, highlighting regional disparities, and identifying gaps in data reporting, a recent report from The Rockefeller Foundation and Boston Consulting Group emphasizes the urgent need to create transparent data systems that hold stakeholders accountable for tracking their financing trajectories.

It also emphasizes that only indicators that are measured truly get financed, along with stating the need to focus on renewable energy transitions and the active participation of the private sector. And it highlights disproportionate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience financing gaps – with Global South countries having the highest unmet needs.

As Japan leads the G7 member nations, its commitment to climate financing and its relationship with Global South nations are of critical importance.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who has repeatedly spoken about the Global South’s potential, and his peers will undoubtedly discuss the need for powerful global leadership, strong political commitment, and multi-sectoral collaboration.

But they must move beyond discussion to action – because climate change will not wait, and Global South nations should not have to.

Deepali Khanna is vice-president of the Asia Regional Office of the Rockefeller Foundation.