Priscilla Hall, Partner and Head of Green Energy at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, comments on the burning question, will the G7 Summit signal a step change to protect the environment in preparation for COP26 later this year?
With a backdrop of beautiful beaches many of which are rated the best in the world and stunning coastline it is easy to see why Carbis Bay in Cornwall was selected as the venue for the G7 Summit to be held between 11-13 June.
Behind the beauty, surfing, Poldark and pasties, there is an emerging green revolution underway in Cornwall, epitomised by the world-renowned Eden Project which recently celebrated 20 years since it opened. Cornwall is now leading the environmental charge with the first geothermal power plant and lithium extraction site in the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he wants to use the UK’s G7 Presidency to unite leading democracies to help the world fight, and then build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future.
The UK has placed an exceptionally great emphasis on the green industrial revolution over the last 12 months, with new initiatives and funding being announced on a regular basis, hence why climate change is extremely high on the UK’s presidency agenda.
In the lead up to the summit a number of ministerial meetings have been held setting out priorities in their particular areas.
The Environmental and Climate ministers committed to protect land and ocean to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030 along with phasing out new direct government support for international fossil fuels. The aim is to ensure climate change is a priority for the UK’s G7 presidency and secure meaningful action from leading economies ahead of COP26 in November.
It is clear that sentiment amongst all G7 members to tackle climate change and create a green economy is in the right place.
However, the commitments must be backed up with actions not just by a few selected countries but countries across the globe to achieve ambitious environmental targets. The climate crisis needs governments to collaborate, working together to make words become a reality.
If I look back at some of the most successful green energy projects Clarke Willmott has acted for, the overriding reasons for their success were shared goals, understanding what each party had to deliver and by when, accountability and reward. Many of these were true partnership agreements.
I have a doubt that too many countries will not be on the same page in wanting to tackle climate change and invest in a green economy for a variety of reasons. It is the responsibility of the G7 and other leading countries to set the tone, start delivering and show the benefits not only environmentally, but economically and societal.
There is a well-known saying of success breeds success and those governments who receive support early on in their endeavours are often more successful than people who do not receive an initial helping hand.
In summary, Edward Everett Hale once quoted ‘coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success’. l hope that for the prosperity and health of the planet the leaders of the G7 will adopt this mantra.