G7 public engagement paper – Working together on climate change, oceans and clean energy

Achieving a more sustainable future requires tackling climate change, improving the health of the world’s oceans, and transforming the way we produce, transport and use energy.  The interconnected world that we live in requires us to work with international partners to develop truly global solutions. Canada and its G7 partners recognize the urgent need to accelerate the transition towards a sustainable, resilient, low carbon future.

In 2015 the world came together in Paris to reach a historic agreement to tackle climate change by limiting global temperature increase to 2 °C and striving to limit it to 1.5 °C. Today the effects of climate change are no longer a distant threat – they are real and present, impacting our lives in a multitude of ways. Millions of people around the world are affected by droughts and floods, occurring with greater frequency and with increasingly devastating effects. Extreme weather events pose new risks that require better mitigation and rebuilding strategies, and form an especially significant challenge for small island states. Rising sea levels, ocean acidification, and thinning sea ice are impacting vulnerable regions and coastal communities, including the Arctic and its Indigenous peoples.

Responding to these threats requires a global transition from the energy that has powered our societies for generations to clean, renewable sources. The pace of that transition may vary from country to country, but it is essential. As a global community, we need to step up our efforts on clean energy innovation – this means  increasing research and development, diversifying energy supply and supply routes, generating more energy from renewable sources, investing in resilient energy systems and infrastructure, and driving new solutions for the sustainable extraction and use of fossil fuels.

Climate change is also significantly impacting our oceans and maritime ecosystems. Healthy and resilient oceans can mitigate the effects of climate change.  They are also a major and growing source of food for the world’s population, a key driver of national and local economies, and an opportunity for new sources of renewable energy.  However, oceans and ecosystems around the world face many challenges, including marine pollution, overfishing, the loss and destruction of habitat, and warming temperatures. In particular, marine pollution has become one of the world’s largest environmental problems, while remaining amongst the least visible.  Unprecedented levels of plastics are entering the ocean every year and this is only expected to increase.

While notable investments have been made in ocean science, innovation and marine safety and response, more will be required. Faced with the competing demands of conservation and natural resource development, world leaders are increasingly seeking new approaches that will benefit local economies while protecting the environment.

Efforts to combat climate change, move to clean energy, and protect our oceans also need to incorporate a commitment to women’s empowerment and gender equality. Women and girls in developing countries are disproportionately affected by the adverse impacts of climate change, which exacerbate existing social inequalities and threaten their health, safety, and economic well-being. Supporting the leadership of women and girls is critical to achieve meaningful results in climate action, mitigation, disaster reduction and adaptation. Women also face particular barriers to entry into resource-based employment and leadership opportunities. New developments in digitalization and artificial intelligence have the potential to transform energy systems and support the transition to a low-carbon economy – all while creating new opportunities for women in the energy sector, and helping to build a community of women leaders in the clean energy field.

 Throughout Canada’s G7 Presidency, we will work to chart new ways forward towards a more secure, sustainable, low carbon future – a future that ensures the health of our oceans, with a renewed focus on the development of new energy technologies. This is why Canada will promote strong engagement with our domestic and international partners, the private sector, and Indigenous and local communities in order to advance efforts on climate change, accelerate clean energy innovation and commercialization, and mobilize action on oceans health and resilience.

Questions

  1. How can the G7 accelerate the transition to low carbon, climate resilient economies? What issues, areas, or initiatives should the G7 prioritize?
  2. How can the G7 create a cleaner environment for future generations, while also creating jobs and growth that benefits everyone?
  3. What are the most important issues facing our oceans and coastal communities today? How should the G7 work together to address these issues, including as it relates to expanding conservation, eliminating pollution, and promoting the sustainable use of maritime resources?
  4. How can the G7 advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through its actions related to climate change, oceans and clean growth?