The G7 Summit takes place this coming weekend, with the Leaders from the seven most powerful nations in the world meeting in the Cornish coastal region of Carbis Bay.
Other local towns such as St Ives and Falmouth, along with Newquay airport will also have roles to play in the summit.
Falmouth harbour for example is hosting the Baltic cruise ship ‘Siljac Europa’, which has been brought in to accommodate around 6,500 police on hand as security for the summit.
And that may be no bad thing as climate activists from Extinction Rebellion have promised to take their campaign to the streets and beaches of Cornwall with a strong message to the G7 simply saying “We’re drowning in promises; Act Now!”
So we know we can expect headlines during the event which runs from 11-13 June, but what about the Leaders? What will they be focusing on? And what are the major talking points?
This summit could be vital in setting out a roadmap to tackle the biggest issue facing our planet
Why here and why now?
The Group of Seven or G7 is made up of the following member countries: The US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, and this will be the first G7 Leaders’ Summit to take place in person, in almost two years – The 2020 event was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Representatives from these seven nations have met at least annually since 1975, to discuss economic policies and issues of major global importance.
According to the G7 website, the priorities of the summit include “spreading wealth to all nations through new technologies, international trading, green recovery and lasting jobs”.
The UK has the G7 Presidency this year and has also invited Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa as guest countries to attend this year’s Summit, along with representatives from the EU.
This year, the goal of the summit is to “help the world fight, and then build back better from coronavirus and create a greener, more prosperous future”.
Global corporate taxes
Although there are many issues that the G7 will focus on, probably the top three will be corporation tax, the COVID pandemic, and climate change.
Corporation tax is on the agenda as POTUS, Joe Biden has already signalled his intentions with a cornerstone policy of pushing through a global corporation tax of 21%. This would also come with legislation to stop global businesses from moving to tax havens or nations with lower tax rates.
The Institute for Public Policy Research estimates that $500bn could be earned every year with the UK estimated to earn and extra £14.7bn.
So far though the UK has yet to sign up to this, saying they want to push through more robust legislation first.
The nations of the developed world are at varying stages of vaccination and countries are looking for a way to come out of lockdowns which have sapped their economies and the morale of their populaces.
At the same time though, variants keep on emerging and cases are still rises so this pandemic is by no means over yet. And if the leading countries get fully vaccinated whilst the rest of the world trails behind, then the danger is that we will see even more variants emerging that current vaccines can’t help with.
There have been calls from prominent figures such as former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown for agreement to commit support for poorer nations by speeding up production of treatments to the world’s poorer nations and by increasing the global vaccination push.
And this weekend’s Observer carried the headline “Share vaccines or climate deal will fail, rich countries told”.
We should therefore certainly expect some statement of agreement on the best ways to tackle this imbalance.
The biggest story of this and every subsequent meeting of global powers into the next decade has to centre on the environment, especially ahead of this November’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
Most of the G7 have already committed to fighting climate change, with the UK the first to make climate reporting mandatory for big companies and there are hopes that the rest of the G7 will follow suit.
We are already seeing an increase in ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) commitments amongst the major boardrooms of global corporations as we’ve discussed here on the Hub before.
We can also see a trend of growing awareness amongst consumers as people realise that they too can make a difference.
What would help in this drive to tackle global warming and reduce carbon emissions is a strong commitment from the G7 to actual targets and goals. As Extinction Rebellion and others such as Greta Thunberg have already stated: “It’s time for action, not more warm words”.
Whatever agreed messaging comes out of this meeting of the G7, the summit could be vital in setting out a roadmap to tackle the biggest issue facing our planet – the threat of climate change to biodiversity, sea levels, global temperatures and ultimately, our very own survival.
Russell Jones is content and communications manager