G7 Environment in Bologna: a half success?
The G7 Environment chaired by the Italian Minister of the Environment, Gian Luca Galletti, in Bologna ended on June, 12th. The authorities that took part in the meeting included: Germany (represented by Barbara Hendricks), Japan (represented by Koichi Yamamoto), France (represented by Nicolas Hulot), the USA (represented by Scott Pruitt), Canada (represented by Catherine McKenna), the UK (represented by the Secretary of State, Therese Coffey) and two European Commissioners (Karmenu Vella, responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and Miguel Arias Cañete, responsible for Energy and Climate Action). Moreover, the Ministers of the Environment of four extra G7 countries had been invited to the meeting: Chile, Rwanda, Maldives and Ethiopia. Finally, the meeting included three companies and two Universities for each country, that discussed circular economy and innovation respectively.
Several subjects have been discussed and analysed by the board during the two-day meeting: environment, climate, sustainable growth, green finance and sea pollution. The works ended with a unanimous purpose as far as: sustainable development, removal of fossil fuel subsidies, use of sustainable resources, circular economy, promotion of clean technology, marine litter, environmental fiscal reform, dialogue with the most vulnerable countries and with Africa in order to fight climate change.
On the contrary, no agreement was reached about climate (maybe the most relevant subject of the meeting) and multilateral development banks (MDBs): as a matter of fact, even if the United States of America signed the final communiqué issued by the board, they added a note, stating that the USA will continue to demonstrate through action their engagement to reduce CO2 footprint, in a manner that is consistent with their domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment. As a consequence, the footnote states: "We the United States do not join those sections of the communiqué on climate and MDBs, reflecting our recent announcement to withdraw and immediately cease implementation of the Paris Agreement and associated financial commitment".
Certainly it was no surprise, as US President Donald Trump's statements has never left any interpretative doubts about this subject. Anyway, this USA step backwards about the Paris Climate Agreement did not discourage the other six G7 countries and the European Union, that confirmed their intention to implement the environmental condition promoted by the Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), as well as achieve the energy transition towards a zero-carbon economy by 2050.
"We worked to build bridges not walls - said Minister Galletti - Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union confirmed clearly that the Paris climate agreement is irreversible, non-negotiable and the only possible instrument to fight climate change. We hope to be able to continue to engage in a constructive dialogue with the USA in the future, but only on the basis of these premises. There is no alternative position for us".
edited by Patrizia Calzolari