Everything You Need to Know About the G7 and their Climate Crusade

May 11, 2015

G7 country flags - Ben & Jerry's

What is the G7? And why should we be paying attention to their big summit meeting this June in Germany? Here’s everything you need to know about how one of the most important informal organizations will help shape the push to find an approach to climate change.

What is the G7?

If it sounds like a super hero group from the 70’s, that’s partly right. Formed in 1975 as a forum for non-communist world powers to discuss economic concerns, this pack of highly developed countries originally included France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. Today, it also includes the European Union. While the G7 is informal in nature, these countries are heavy hitters— their collective gross domestic product (GDP) makes up around 50% of the global economy. It’s no surprise that the negotiations and agreements made by the G7 have an outsized impact on politics and economics everywhere.

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What’s their stake in stopping climate change?

International development and foreign policy have been high priorities for the G7 since their origins in the era of cold war diplomacy. Now, climate justice is taking a top spot on the agenda. At the April G7 meeting, the group issued the New Climate for Peace report, urging world leaders to make climate change their number one foreign policy concern. The report called for extra attention and aid to ensure poor and conflict-torn countries are resilient enough to withstand the worst impacts of climate change.

How are they going to make a difference?

As we’re seeing across the globe, the varied effects of climate change are complex and interlinked. Together, the G7 countries are responsible for almost two-thirds of global development funding. So we’re happy to see their efforts to establish a collaborative and integrated response to the impact of climate change on the most vulnerable countries. The New Climate for Peace report takes a critical step forward, outlining 7 Compound Risks, and showing how they are connected to ongoing policy initiatives:

  • Local resource competition
  • Livelihood insecurity and migration
  • Extreme weather events and disasters
  • Volatile food prices and provision
  • Transboundary water management
  • Sea-level rise and coastal degradation
  • Unintended consequences of climate policies


What’s happening next?

The April meeting wrapped up with support for a broad and binding deal on climate change at this December’s UN Climate Change summit in Paris. That is certainly good news heading into the June G7 Summit,  where the New Climate for Peace report will hopefully play a key role in shaping the talks around global economy and foreign, security and development policy.

How can you help?

While there’s good news here, it also points out the fact that climate change will be the top stressor on fragile economies, the environment and society for years to come. Let’s make sure that our world leaders get a loud and clear call to put everything they have into solving this now. Click here to add your voice the Avaaz petition calling for 100% renewable energy by 2050, and stand up for a future we believe in.