G7 makes green alliance with guests in overture to global south

India, South Africa, Argentina, Senegal and Indonesia sign up to energy partnership

The G7 invited the leaders of partner countries to their summit in Germany on Monday. PA
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The G7 on Monday offered a helping hand to India, South Africa, Argentina, Senegal and Indonesia in turning their economies green, as western powers try to position themselves as a force for good amid spiralling global crises.

The leaders of the five guest countries flew to the summit in Germany with the G7 hosts hoping to bring them into the fold on issues including energy, food and the international security order.

In a joint declaration, the 12 countries and the European Union said they would work together to speed up the race to climate neutrality, while ensuring energy security at a time of soaring prices.

The specifics could include partnerships with India, Senegal and Indonesia and to clean up their energy sectors, modelled on an arrangement with South Africa that includes a promise of $8.5 billion of western aid.

The G7 and partners said they would push for “decent green jobs” and put a particular focus on “delivering socio-economic benefits and development opportunities” for the five emerging economies.

“Phasing down unabated coal and scaling up clean and renewable energies needs to be environmentally and socially just,” adopting India’s favoured but controversial wording of phasing down rather than out.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the summit to tout his country’s efforts on clean energy and green growth after sharing laughs and handshakes with leaders including US President Joe Biden.

Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, who will host a G20 summit in November, joined Mr Modi on a military helicopter to the G7 meeting, from where he will continue to Ukraine and Russia to meet leaders on both sides of the war.

The circle was widened further by international organisations such as the UN and the World Health Organisation, with climate policies only one part of the G7’s push to work with less established allies.

Western officials insist they do not want to return to the rival blocs of the Cold War, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying on Monday that this would be falling into a Russian trap.

However, they have made no secret of wanting to counter China’s growing influence and prevent Russia from forging new alliances to escape isolation.

"As democracies, we look at the world similarly. And is good, important and necessary that we talk to each other,” said Mr Scholz, who acknowledged that the larger group was not unanimous on the war in Ukraine.

The guests arrived for talks after Mr Biden and other G7 leaders promised a major investment push in developing countries in a thinly-veiled riposte to China’s multi-trillion dollar Belt and Road initiative.

Mr Biden said the US would organise $200 billion in public and private funding over the next five years towards the so-called Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment.

The five guests are seen by western officials as democracies uncommitted in the battle for influence, with Beijing only last week making overtures to India and South Africa at a summit with Russia.

Mr Biden spoke of the US and its allies “offering better options”, without naming China as the alternative, by “using the global best practices” such as labour and environmental standards.

Mr Scholz said it was “time to show our offer to the world”, after G7 leaders agreed the principle of an infrastructure push at last year’s summit in Britain.

Diplomats have prepared a declaration this year committing the G7 and its guests to principles such as democracy, the rule of law and respect for international borders, an implied repudiation of Russia.

The G7 countries also hope to show leadership on global hunger, a problem worsened by the blockade of Ukrainian grain exports and causing much concern in developing countries.

“We commit to demonstrate global responsibility and solidarity through working to address the international impacts of Russia’s aggression, especially on the most vulnerable,” they said in a joint statement on Ukraine.

Updated: June 27, 2022, 4:00 PM
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