Research-based
policy recommendations
for the G7

Publications

The Think7 task forces will produce policy briefs on issues relevant to G7 policy-makers. On the basis of these policy briefs, one or two task force reports focusing on a limited number of key issues of relevance for the G7 process will be produced. This process is led by the Think7 co-chairs. The task force reports will provide a limited number of research-based policy recommendations for G7 policy-makers. The task force reports will be subject to an internal peer review process within each task force.

The finalized publications will be published below by summer 2022.

Issue Paper: Saving the Planet

Humans are destroying the planet through unrelenting emissions of greenhouse gases, land use change and pollution, causing widespread biodiversity loss and ongoing land, forest and ocean degradation that are undermining human health and harming agriculture and food production. These challenges can be addressed in a limited window of opportunity. G7 leaders at Elmau should:

  1. Create climate clubs
  2. End fossil fuel subsidies
  3. Expand climate finance
  4. Bolster biodiversity
  5. Strengthen sustainable agriculture, food and water security
  6. Create climate–health benefits

These six recommendations should be implemented in SDG-supportive, jobs-rich, inclusive, equality-enhancing, gender-equalizing, independently monitored and continuously improved ways.

Reform Subsidies Harmful to Nature

G7 countries are actively working to repurpose agricultural subsidies to reduce unintended effects on nature (across climate, biodiversity and lands impacts). The G7 has a key role to play on agricultural subsidies discussions in the World Trade Organization. At the WTO and elsewhere, the G7 should move to replace subsidies harmful to nature with incentives that increase agricultural resilience while benefiting the natural environment.

Aligning Climate And Biodiversity Finance

The G7 can provide a powerful signal on resource mobilization for biodiversity and climate change ahead of the Biodiversity Convention COP15 in Kunming to ensure that financing efforts to address the global climate crisis and the global biodiversity crisis are synergistic and mutually re-enforcing. G7 countries should commit to allocate 30% of their international climate finance towards nature-based solutions in order to simultaneously achieve climate and biodiversity outcomes. Furthermore, the G7 should commit to ensure that, in achieving the $100B climate finance commitment, all climate finance is screened to be nature-positive. Additionally, Lastly, the G7 should call upon the Multilateral Development Banks to build on the MDB Joint Nature Statement from Glasgow to become “Kunming Aligned” following the adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework at UNCBD COP15, just as they have previously committed to become “Paris Aligned.

Using Debt Conversions to Support the Sustainability Agenda

Countries across the global are facing a sovereign debt challenge in the wake of the economic impacts of Covid. This will likely result in an increasing need for debt restructuring and debt forgiveness operations. As global institutions look at this issue, they have an opportunity to ensure that these restructuring and forgiveness interventions are truly sustainable by incorporating climate and nature risk. The G7 countries are influential creditors in the sovereign debt market. As such, setting out a joint statement of intent and direction through the G7 process would be an important market signal. Importantly, the G7 countries – when acting together – can also influence discussions and outcomes at the IMF and other influential sovereign debt fora to ensure that debt conversions and debt forgiveness operations explicitly secure climate and biodiversity benefits.

Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment for Energy and Nature Security

The current crisis in Eastern Europe highlights, more than ever, the need for a clear pathway for accelerating the renewable energy transition to address the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. However, the deployment of renewables is often slowed down by planning processes that do not sufficiently account for biodiversity, agricultural, and social impacts from the very outset. Proactively identifying preferential areas for renewable energy deployment will help accelerate the required buildout while reducing negative impacts. Identifying these higher benefit, lower risk areas requires integrating ecological and socio-cultural values into planning and procurement processes. G7 countries should proactively identify preferential areas for renewable energy siting within their own territories, guided by the latest climate and biodiversity science. Additionally, G7 countries should call upon bilateral and multilateral development finance institutions to ensure that their financing and technical assistance likewise supports all countries to undertake integrated spatial planning assessments to define preferential areas to harness renewable energy sources for the production of electricity, while ensuring the preservation of natural habitats, agricultural production, and addressing the interests of local communities.

Safeguarding the Blue Planet – Eight Recommendations to sustainably use and govern the Ocean and its Resources

Over 30% of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the oceanic coast. More than three billion people rely on fishing and other ocean-related livelihoods. The ocean is a biodiversity hotspot and moderates the climate, having absorbed around 40% of the world’s total carbon emissions. Oceanscapes provide an essential cultural good, offer recreational opportunities, health benefits, artistic inspiration and an entire cosmology and way of life for indigenous communities. However, anthropogenic pressures have seriously impacted the ocean and threaten its ability to provide human societies with the required climatic and ecosystem conditions for life on earth. The German G7 presidency has proposed a G7 “Ocean Deal” for the sustainable use, protection and effective governance of the ocean and its resources. Several ongoing global ocean governance processes require strong multilateral leadership and close alignment between the G7, in particular in this period of serious international tensions following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At the One Ocean Summit in February 2022, global leaders have put forth first commitments to make 2022 a decision year for the ocean. Building on the final declaration of the summit and the UK G7 Ocean Decade Navigation Plan, we highlight that a G7 “Ocean Deal” should include provisions for 1) ambitious ocean governance to safeguard ocean health and climate (in the G7’s own waters and through leadership in international settings), 2) improving ocean observation, data infrastructure and knowledge sharing, and 3) financing the transition towards more sustainable interactions with the ocean. Specifically, we recommend that G7 states:

1a. Eliminate national subsidies that contribute to overfishing and push to finalize the related WTO agreement; step up international cooperation, financial & technical assistance to prevent IUU fishing.

1b. Reduce marine debris through a comprehensive global agreement on plastic pollution.

1c. Pause deep sea mining until risks are better understood and a transparent, inclusive and accountable institutional structure is in place that guarantees the effective protection of the marine environment.

1d. Expand marine protected areas in line with the proposed goal of at least 30% by 2030, and accelerate work in the coming months to successfully finalize negotiations for a legally binding instrument to conserve and sustainably use marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

1e. Fully recognize the importance of the ocean-climate nexus and strengthen the ocean dimension in key climate negotiations.

2a. Adopt a legal framework and binding commitments for a sustained and shared global coordination of ocean observations and infrastructure on marine data, compliant with FAIR and CARE principles.

2b. Ensure long-term, guaranteed funding, clear institutional affiliations, coordinated and integrated data products to enable continuous, comprehensive observations supporting policy monitoring & evaluation

3a. Redesign and scale up ocean finance by increasing funding of early-stage, nature-positive and science-based opportunities, and large-scale investment into zero-carbon, resilient and nature-based coastal blue infrastructure, and by integrating ocean criteria into sustainability finance frameworks (EU Taxonomy, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)).

Financing a Green Future: The Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) and the Green Impact Fund for Technology (Gift)

The G7 should consider (i) an Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) and (ii) a Green Impact Fund for Technology (GIFT) to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to low-carbon technologies in developing countries. ETM is a scalable, collaborative initiative led by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in partnership with developing countries that will leverage a market-based approach to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. It funds early retirement of coal power plants in developing countries using the proceeds from ETM purchased coal plants for low-carbon technologies. Pilots of ETM have been launched in Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam. GIFT would reward emission reductions achieved in specified developing countries with any patented green technology whose monopoly privileges in this “GIFT Zone” are waived. To prepare for GIFT initiative, the G7 should immediately fund a pilot project featuring a single reward pool to be split among preselected green innovators in proportion to the emission reductions they achieve with their respective innovations, affordably priced, in a self-selected region of the GIFT Zone over a 2-year period. With preparation and assessment, a meaningful pilot could be completed for €35 million per annum over four years. These proposals complement to each other. ETM stimulates demand and GIFT reduces the cost to implement low-carbon technologies.

Towards an inclusive climate alliance with a balance of carrots and sticks

As G7 countries generate 25% of world greenhouse gas emissions, an open and cooperative G7 climate alliance can accelerate international climate policy in a transformative and inclusive manner. Building upon a proposal of the German Government (2021), we propose the following design elements for such an alliance:

  1. Membership conditions that benefit all members and are sufficiently ambitious to enable a pathway to genuine ‘net zero’

Reaching ‘net zero’ emissions globally by mid-century is key to enable limiting global warming to 1.5°C – the core objective of the Paris Agreement. The alliance must adopt membership conditions that keep the aim of 1.5°C alive. These include:

  • a differentiated carbon price with a common floor, e., an effective price set in accordance with criteria that reflect different economic capacities, with a floor at 50 € in 2025 and 100 € in 2030.
  • common energy sector policies consistent with a pathway to genuine net zero, including a 2024 removal of fossil fuel subsidies, a 2030 phase-out date for coal-fired electricity generation for OECD members that join the alliance and a commitment to immediately end the new development of upstream coal, oil and gas supply infrastructure;
  • a joint effort sharing mechanism to achieve emission reductions based on Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR-RC).

  1. Apply a ‘carrot and stick’ approach based on Article 6 and a differentiated CBAM to encourage alliance participation

‘Carrots’ should be designed as an open means to incentivize decarbonization outside of the alliance and encourage participation in the alliance. We recommend using international carbon markets under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement as a carrot, providing an additional financial incentive to non-members of the alliance for low carbon development. A differentiated carbon-border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) is the crucial ‘stick’ to avoid carbon leakage, with differentiation based on development status and clear exemptions for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Additional carrots should include differentiated carbon border levy refunds as well as targeted industry and energy partnerships.

  1. Use a ratcheting mechanism to raise ambition

A roadmap to ratchet-up the ambition of measures within and beyond the alliance is essential. Such roadmap should align with five-year NDC update cycles under the Paris Agreement, adjustable to align with national and global net zero targets and set clear milestones for expansion regarding sectors (from heavy industry and energy to land use) as well as countries (from G7 to G20 and beyond). Ensuring institutional continuity of the alliance requires a legally binding agreement that is independent from annually changing G7 presidencies and governed by a secretariat hosted by one or more volunteering member states, with a slim administration and explicit inclusion of a wide range of civil society representatives.

Community Climate Clubs to motivate and create personal Action for an equitable World

The health and vitality of our planet should not be in the hands of a select few individuals, organisations or governments. The wellbeing of the planet should be in the hands of each and every individual. In the current landscape, individuals and communities are unaware of the reality of the climate crisis and feel powerless to do anything to create change. Progress to an Equitable World Climate action must be translated into something K-12, rural, poor, urban, vulnerable and all communities can benefit from. To succeed, individuals and communities must be the driver of this transformation. Once aware as an individual, the second part of this proposition is to increase the sense of personal agency by connecting individuals with new common purpose into a group/club/community that becomes the source of more powerful collective agency to address the need and purpose. Through project-based learning and community endeavours, science and engineering challenges and the Emissions Clock, each person can witness their own efforts making a difference and feel incentivized and motivated to make better choices. Future Fridays, CAN – the Climate Action Network in the UK, CBS Climate Club in Denmark, EarthTeam in the US are already underway and represent networks we can connect. It is not enough just to look at the climate data, we have to take the data “in the round” including all economic, climate, human well being data, to actually understand how the impact of climate change is causing harm. But there is also good news: Benefits from mitigation of climate risk could improve well being, reduce waste, help people reconnect to the world they live in.

Biodiversity Protection through Reward, Technology Transfer, and improving Governance

Biodiversity supports the water bodies, food systems, medicinal plants, thereby sustaining the livelihood of billions of people. According to World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report, around one million species are threatened to extinction in the next ten years. Approximately $44 trillion of economic value generation (over 50% of global GDP) is moderately or highly dependent on nature and its services (WEF 2020). The same report further indicates that switching to a nature-based economy could generate 400 million jobs and a business of US$ 10 trillion per year by 2030.

Biodiversity loss means the extinction of plant and water species from land and water, which could greatly impair the livelihood of millions and the global economy. Human behaviour and lack of recognition of the importance of biodiversity for a sustainable future have resulted in biodiversity loss in both land and water. Living Planet Index shows that biodiversity declined by more than 70% between 1970 and 2020. According to the IUCN red list of threatened species, 40,000 species from the total assessed species of 142,577 are threatened to extinction. It is estimated that around 25% of the marine species live in a coral reef, which covers only 250,000 square kilometres of ocean and provides livelihoods to millions is under threat (Burke et al. 2012). Between 1990 to 2020, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through human activities (FAO and UNEP 2020). Though deforestation has declined to 10 million hectares per year between 2015-2020 compared to 16 million hectares per year in the 1990s, it is still a significant threat to the species in the forest and planet earth (FAO and UNEP 2020).

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 36,000 species of plant and animal has been included with different level of protection (CITES 2020). However, the number of endangered species traded rose from 61,241 to 1,299,284 in 2015, which marginally declined to 1,163245 in 2018.

Therefore, the G7 has to uplift the game of conserving biodiversity and ecology to save only one planet. With this end in view, it is recommended that the G7 announce that “biodiversity conservation will be included as one of the central pillars of trade and development through reward mechanism” at its Elmau Summit. As G7 has the resources, technology, market power to reward and punish countries, communities, and individuals that protect and conserve biodiversity and natural capital in the global north and south, G7 is the right platform to take leadership and initiative towards this agenda. Those communities and individuals who protect and conserve biodiversity and natural capital should receive preferential treatment in trade, investment, and grants/aids, while the countries, communities, and individuals responsible for the destruction of biodiversity and ecology should be treated contrarily. Finally, develop capacity and governance in the global south on biodiversity and nature conservation.