World As summit ends, G-7 urged to deliver on vaccines, climate
Progressive groups are “fed up” with Biden’s infrastructure playbook
Progressives want Biden to stop negotiating with Republicans and embrace budget reconciliation.Progressive groups, who cheered Biden passing his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 stimulus bill through Congress with only Democratic support early on, are growing increasingly frustrated over Biden’s prolonged infrastructure negotiations with Senate Republicans.
FALMOUTH, England (AP) — The Group of Seven leaders aim to end their first summit in two years with a punchy set of promises Sunday, including vaccinating the world against coronavirus, making huge corporations pay their fair share of taxes and tackling climate change with a blend of technology and money.
They want to show that international cooperation is back after the upheavals caused both by the pandemic and the unpredictability of former U.S. President Donald Trump. And they want to convey that the club of wealthy democracies — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — is a better friend to poorer nations than authoritarian rivals such as China.
Biden to get warm welcome from relieved but wary allies
LONDON (AP) — When U.S. President Joe Biden flies to Europe this week, he will find his hosts welcoming but wary. His predecessor Donald Trump may be gone, but he leaves a long shadow. Biden’s first foreign trip as president starts Wednesday and includes a gathering of the Group of Seven wealthy nations by the seaside in southwest England, a NATO summit, a meeting with European Union chiefs, and then a tete-a-tete in Geneva with his Russian counterpart and adversary, Vladimir Putin.For most of America’s allies, Biden is a relief.
But it was uncertain how firm the group’s commitments will be on coronavirus vaccines, the economy and the environment when the leaders issue their final communique. Also unclear was whether all of the leaders would back the United States’ call to chastise China for repressing its Uyghur minority and other abuses.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit's host, wanted the three-day meeting to fly the flag for a “Global Britain,” his government's initiative to give the midsized country outsized influence when it comes to global problem-solving.
Biden pitched a bold climate vision. He may be watching it die in Congress.
Climate hawks are starting to worry that their issue is getting thrown under a fossil-fueled bus. For all of Biden’s green goals, green team and green executive orders, the centerpiece of his green agenda is his proposal to throw hundreds of billions of dollars at the climate crisis through his American Jobs Plan, and it’s hard to see a path where a Republican-supported infrastructure bill would spend that freely to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sounded the alarm in a Twitter thread Tuesday, declaring himself “officially very anxious” about the fate of climate legislation.
Brexit cast a shadow over that goal during the summit on the coast of southwest England. European Union leaders and U.S. President Joe Biden voiced concerns about problems with new U.K.-EU trade rules that have heightened tensions in Northern Ireland.
But overall, the mood has been positive: The leaders smiled for the cameras on the beach at cliff-fringed Carbis Bay, a village and resort that became a traffic-clogged fortress for the meeting. The last G-7 summit was in France in 2019. The pandemic scuttled the planned 2020 event in the United States.
The leaders mingled with Queen Elizabeth II at a royal reception on their first evening, and were served steak and lobster at a beach barbecue on their second.
America’s allies were visibly relieved to have the U.S. back as an engaged international player after the “America First” policy of the Trump administration.
“The United States is back, and democracies of the world are standing together,” Biden said as he arrived in the U.K. on the first foreign trip of his 5-month-old presidency. After the G-7 summit, the president is to have tea with the queen on Sunday, attend a NATO summit in Brussels on Monday and hold talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Wednesday.
Luxembourg takes the lead on climate finance
The small country is a financial giant — and it’s working to lead the world on sustainable climate finance.Emissions from a coal-fired power plant are silhouetted against the setting sun in the US, Feb. 1, 2021. A United Nations report released in February says humans are making Earth a broken and increasingly unlivable planet through climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
At the G-7, Johnson described Biden as a “breath of fresh air.” French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking one-to-one with Biden, said, “It’s great to have a U.S. president part of the club and very willing to cooperate.”
The re-energized G-7 made ambitious declarations during their meetings about girls’ education, preventing future pandemics and using the finance system to fund green growth. Above all, they vowed to share vaccine doses with less well-off nations that urgently need them. Johnson said the group would pledge at least 1 billion doses, with half that coming from the United States and 100 million from Britain.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commended the vaccine pledge but said it's not enough. To truly end the pandemic, he said, 11 billion doses are needed to vaccinate at least 70% of the world's population by the middle of next year.
Africa's CDC Director Calls U.S. Donation of COVID Vaccines 'Cause for Celebration'
The Biden administration announced it would donate 200 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to developing countries in Africa. Africa's CDC director said it's a call for celebration, but many questions are still left unanswered.Dr. John Nkengasong said, "Absolutely, it's going to be a big help," and is eager to reach an exact timeline for when the shots will reach them.
“We need more and we need them faster,” Tedros said.
Public health advocates said much more than just doses was needed, including money and logistical help to get shots into the arms of people in poorer countries.
“It’s not enough to just get vaccines flown into capitals,” said Lily Caprani, head of COVID-19 vaccines advocacy for UNICEF. “We can’t let them potentially go to waste or be at risk or be at risk of not being delivered. So it’s a real end-to-end solution that’s needed.”
The leaders' final communique is expected to formally embrace placing a global minimum tax of at least 15% on large multinational companies to stop corporations from using tax havens to shift profits and to avoid taxes.
Daily on Energy, Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby: The energy and environment tensions in US-EU summit
Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 THE UNSPOKEN TENSIONS IN BIDEN-EU SUMMIT: The official White House statement recapping the U.S.
The minimum rate was championed by the U.S., and dovetails with the aim of Biden — and Johnson — to focus the summit on ways the democracies can collaborate to build a more inclusive and fair global economy and to compete with rising autocracies like China.
Non-G-7 nations India, South Korea, Australia and South Africa were invited to attend as guests to bolster the group’s support for fellow democracies.
The White House said the leaders had also agreed an infrastructure plan, the Build Back Better world plan, to help low and middle-income countries. The move is a response to China’s “belt and road” initiative, which has increased Beijing’s influence in countries around the world.
White House officials said Biden wants the G-7 leaders to speak in a single voice against the forced labor practices targeting China’s Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. Biden hopes the denunciation will be part of a joint statement Sunday, but some European allies are reluctant to split so forcefully with Beijing.
The summit was also supposed to focus on climate change and to set the stage for the U.N. climate conference being held in November in Scotland.
Climate activists and analysts have said filling a $100 billion annual fund that is intended to help poor countries tackle the effects of global warming should be at the top of the G-7's to-do list.
How COVID-19 Vaccination Became a Climate Metaphor
How COVID-19 Vaccination Became a Climate MetaphorFor years, climate policy experts have watched as the issue has been pushed off the stage at global summits to make way for the geopolitical conflict dujour. That trend has long frustrated climate advocates who sought to make leaders understand that the scientific reality of climate change is just as urgent—if not more so—than other flavor-of-the-month topics.
Johnson’s office said he met with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Saturday and that the two agreed on the need for countries to step up and make ambitious commitments to cut carbon emissions and phase out the use of coal.
But very little substance on the topic has so far emerged from the talks, to the frustration of environmental protesters who gathered nearby to make their message heard.
Large crowds of surfers and kayakers took to the sea in a mass paddle protest Saturday to urge more action on protecting the oceans, while thousands chanted and beat drums as they marched outside the summit’s media center in Falmouth.
“G-7 is all greenwashing,” the protesters sang. “We’re drowning in promises, now’s the time to act.”
Follow all AP stories on climate change issues at
Heatwaves don't lie: Telling the truth about climate change .
It was 114 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix on Sunday. Not exactly Father’s Day backyard barbeque weather, is it? At least in Las Vegas and Bakersfield, it was only a cool 108. Welcome to the new normal.And while folks are quite literally relying on A/C to survive the heat, in Texas and California the electric grid operators had to ask residents to use less electricity this week to avoid power outages.Drought conditions across the West and Southwest are being called "unprecedented" in the age of modern record-keeping.