The Green Wall of G7: World leaders agree on plans to counter China’s influence

July 3, 2021

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3 min read

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What's going on here?

The G7 summit has agreed to fund green international infrastructure projects for developing countries which would counter the growing influence of China.

What does this mean?

In 2013, China adopted a scheme dubbed the Belt and Road Initiative which is aimed at creating a “new interconnected silk road”. The latest data suggests that the current total cost of the initiative is $3.7tn and includes infrastructure projects such as ports, highways and railways. The Belt and Road Initiative has largely been criticised for growing the global economic influence of China and holding developing countries to ransom over investments that have been made. At a first glance, the initiative seems like it will have a positive impact by developing trade, however, in reality, the increase of harmful infrastructure projects will only damage our planet. The new Build Back Better for the World programme means that the world’s richest democracies, including the United Kingdom, have taken action in financing green projects in places like Africa and Asia. The agreement between G7 leaders aims to protect our planet, reduce emissions, restore nature, create jobs and ensure long-term economic growth. 

What's the big picture effect?

The G7 leaders agreeing on a green infrastructure initiative sounds like the world’s most powerful democracies are moving in the right direction to protect the planet. However, this may not be enough to counter the well-established presence that China has stamped across developing countries where modern democracies such as the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA) have failed to offer sustainable alternatives. The view can be taken that the inadequacy of world leaders to act promptly to this point will mean that the Build Back Better for the World scheme already falls short and fails to properly address the issues it aims to combat. Furthermore, the G7 have to recognise that they are now fighting not just China’s influence but a brand. The Belt and Road Initiative hosts large forums for heads of state which prove to be very influential and have no doubt influenced its success.

The view can be taken that there may be some underlying challenges facing the new scheme agreed by G7 leaders, however, it is a chance to make a worthwhile impact. Green projects that will be available to developing countries include low finance projects such as wind farms that produce renewable energy. Some of the guiding values include transparency, sustainability and coalition with local communities, however, environmental groups were quick to point out there is a lack of detail on how the new scheme would be financed and operated. The view can be taken that this lack of detail suggests that the new scheme is nothing more than “empty promises”. Other initiatives include the G7 leaders pledging to phase out petrol and diesel cars along with coal plants that do not use emission capturing technology. Further pledges include protecting 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030. 

It is clear that the world leaders of the G7 are late to the climate change summit, the initiatives that they pledge are not wide enough to properly address the issue of climate change. The ocean is the greatest producer of the oxygen we have, its protection is essential. Fossil fuel-powered vehicles could be phased out earlier than the proposed date if the proper infrastructure for electric cars was introduced. In conclusion, these initiatives are a great step in the right direction, however, can the world’s leaders do more to save our planet?

Report written by Harry Grice

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