This weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison will swap Australia’s polar blast for the balminess of a seaside resort in England’s southwest. He will come face-to-face with US President Joe Biden, UK counterpart Boris Johnson and Japanese leader Yoshihide Suga at the annual Group of Seven (G7) meeting.
There may be slaps on the back between Mr. Morrison and Mr. Johnson if Australia and the UK sign a much-touted free trade deal that could bring in billions.
But there’s one area where the conversation could get a touch awkward between Australia and all the other G7 leaders in attendance. Our allies could “turn on us”.
“Every G7 country is committed to net zero emissions by 2050. But more importantly, every G7 country has also now strengthened its target to 2030,” head of research at the Climate Council Dr. Simon Bradshaw told news.com.au
“Australia’s now really alone among comparable countries in having neither committed to net-zero by at least 2050 and also by remaining stubbornly wedded to its fragile 2030 targets.” Dr. Bradshaw said that the pressure would be on the PM and Australia to “pick up its game”.
What is the G7?
The G7 is a meeting of wealthy democratic nations that counts the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. It also included Russia and was called the G8 until Moscow was kicked out in 2014 due to Ukraine’s territory of Crimea.
Australia is not part of the G7, but India, South Korea, and South Africa will be a guest. Unsurprisingly Covid-19 will be top of the agenda. India’s president Narendra Modi is joining virtually due to that country’s ongoing outbreak.
G7 leaders have already declared it a success before the summit has even begun after they agreed on a deal that aims to ensure big companies, like Apple and Amazon, will have to pay a minimum tax rate of at least 15 percent.
Why is the G7 being held in a remote seaside resort?
Every year, leaders of the seven nations meet for a high-powered chinwag. From June 11-13, that summit is taking place in Carbis Bay, a village in Cornwall five and half hours drive from London. It’s so sleepy even many Brits have never heard of it.
But it’s also a signal from the UK that new technology and climate change are central to its future. Cornwall’s burgeoning green technology sector has reduced its carbon footprint by almost 20 percent, with more than one-third of its electricity coming from renewables, reported website Cornwall Live.
Most of the events will take place at the luxury Carbis Bay Hotel, in reality, a real estate, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Being sequestered away in Carbis Bay also allows security to be tightened further from a major city and keep pesky protesters from getting too close. The nearby Newquay Airport is handy for various presidents and prime ministers to fly into. More than 6500 police officers will protect the summit in an operation likely to cost around A$120m.