G7 leaders have a duty to support climate-vulnerable countries, says ACT2025

Image by Kompas/Hendra A Setyawan / World Meteorological Organization

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5: Marking the World Environment Day 2024, the Allied for Climate Transformation by 2025 (ACT2025), a consortium of thought leaders for climate action, today sent an open letter to G7 leaders urging them for more concrete actions in addressing the climate change challenges.

The following is the letter:

Honorable G7 Leaders,

We address you with a deep sense of urgency on the critical issue of climate change. 

The G7 member states have historically been the leading group of countries to drive forward ambitious visions and plans to confront global crises. But G7 nations also have considerable historical and ongoing responsibility for the climate crisis and its management, accounting for over one fifth of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2021.

Vulnerable communities worldwide bear the brunt of record-breaking devastation caused by climate change. This is evident in the mounting death tolls from extreme weather events, the uptick of disaster-induced internal displacement, and the disruption of global supply chains leading to food insecurity and reduced healthcare access, all of which may exacerbate already fragile security situations in places like the Horn of Africa. Moreover, tighter global financing conditions and rising debt distress are systemic issues that limit the ability of vulnerable nations to not only invest in climate resilience and the low-carbon transition, but also escape the climate debt trap.

Yet, all nations are connected. The impacts of climate change, undeterred by borders, will have direct and knock-on effects that will continue to reverberate throughout the global economy and society. G7 nations, accounting for 44.4% of global economic activity totaling over $48 trillion in annual output, must live up to their moral and legal obligations to provide adequate finance to support climate action in developing countries. We recognize current efforts to deliver $100 billion in climate finance annually, but the realities of climate change means this is wholly insufficient. Optimally addressing climate change is not only a moral imperative but also essential for ensuring security and stability both in your countries and worldwide.

Therefore, we urge you, leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, to harness your political and financial might, to honor your long-standing promises with concrete action, and to fulfill the international cooperation you have pledged. To repair this global system of diminishing political will and solidarity, your actions are imperative. Investing abroad in a decarbonized, more resilient world will not only help avoid stranded assets, improve business, and support a worldwide boom in renewables, but will also repair trust between countries.

That is why, on the eve of the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Italy, ACT2025 – a consortium of experts and thought leaders committed to elevating the demands and priorities of climate-vulnerable developing countries – is asking G7 leaders to take bold steps to accelerate the transition to a sustainable future. In complement with our Call to Action for COP29, we offer these five critical areas for action:

1) Be intentional about the success of COP29: Arrive at Baku ready to adopt a needs-based New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance (NCQG) that responds to the outcome of the first Global Stocktake. Various studies estimate that developing countries will need trillions of dollars up to 2030 to finance climate actions, from $5.8 trillion to $13.6 trillion. Based on this, the G7 must support a goal of annual targets aligned to the numbers of the UNFCCC Needs Determination Reports, which under its first edition amount to $6 trillion for the 2021-2030 period, emphasizing the continued importance within this of public grant-based and concessional finance, enhancing access to climate finance, and promoting the scale-up of private finance.

This goal should contain clear sub-targets that address the needs of developing countries for mitigation, adaptation, and addressing loss and damage, and it should be designed to enable timely, transparent, and comparable public tracking (as countries already do for Official Development Assistance). The commitment of your countries and the success of COP29 must look beyond short term internal political considerations and electoral processes. Multilateralism involves building international policy for the world’s future, and must work to everyone’s benefit.

2) Take a strategic approach to resource mobilization and stop exacerbating debt: Adopting a strategic approach for combining funding sources is necessary, with a core role for public finance supplemented by private, non-debt, and innovative sources. We call on you to identify innovative sources of finance, such as international taxes, which can increase grant and highly concessional funding for climate action in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. We request that you find ways to restructure and relieve debt, so developing countries have the fiscal space to make investments in climate action and, more broadly, the Sustainable Development Goals. And we ask that you ensure that the new climate finance goal is equitable and does not perpetuate a system that puts millions of dollars into climate action loans in developing countries, only to burden them with billions of dollars in repayments to creditors, further indebting already vulnerable countries. The approach of combining sources of finance must make the best use of different sources and instruments for greater climate action and justice, with a commitment to providing coordinated, programmatic funding in support of developing countries’ development and climate priorities.

3) Lead by example and end fossil fuel financing: Recognize that the responsibility for climate action primarily falls on developed countries like the G7. Please set the right example by leading with bold action, and translating your commitments into real implementation to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, and go further to end all fossil fuel financing, both domestic and international, and redirect these socially regressive financial resources into climate action investments in developing countries.  

4) Scale up finance for adaptation and addressing loss and damage: Of course climate action cannot solely focus on mitigation, and other aspects must not be forgotten. We ask that you commit to providing immediate, enhanced, and additional financial support for adaptation and addressing loss and damage. One such opportunity is ensuring that the next cycle of International Development Association (IDA) replenishment concludes with a historically generous financing package for IDA countries. This finance must respond to the urgent needs of vulnerable countries suffering from escalating impacts of climate change.

5) Rise to the occasion and put forward ambitious climate plans: As your countries embark upon the process of enhancing your Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by early 2025, you have the opportunity to send a loud and clear message that will set the world on a clear path to reducing GHG emissions at scale and speed. This means delivering on ambitious economy-wide targets and incorporating strong and specific sectoral targets to phase out all fossil fuels and reduce emissions by at least 43% by 2030 and 60% by 2035 (relative to 2019 levels), and reaching net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

Vulnerable nations and communities worldwide are looking to the G7 for leadership in addressing the climate crisis. We urge you to seize this opportunity to make a meaningful impact by adopting ambitious climate finance goals, thus demonstrating unwavering commitment to climate action and solidarity with vulnerable countries. The stakes couldn’t be higher, and now is the pivotal moment for you to once again demonstrate unrivaled global leadership and to invest accordingly for the future we all envision.

— WE