The G7 agreed a few days ago to launch an infrastructure plan proposed by President Biden to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Italian Prime minister Mario Draghi went along, but urged that the West not only challenge but also cooperate with China. I concur with Draghi’s reservation. I would add that the G7 should pour unprecedented amounts of money into the vaccination and green development of the 3rd world. What it must not do is start a new cold war complete with military buildups and a renewed nuclear arms race.
Developing countries, many of whom are dependent either on the production and export of fossil fuels or on their import, will need trillions of dollars in aid to effect a deliberate, equitable transition to clean energy sources starting now in 2021, aiming to get halfway by 2030, and intensifying until reaching net-zero carbon emissions no later than 2050.
The fossil fuel energy system is deeply embedded in every country. Uprooting it and replacing it with a carbon-free alternative is a monumental task, made even more daunting by the urgency of it. We have to act quickly if climate change isn’t to make the Earth an inhospitable place for humans to live.
While some competition may spur progress toward the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Centigrade by 2050, achieving that goal will be so difficult that cooperation between the West and China is an absolute necessity. There is reason to hope that the G7 decision may lead to a joint G7-China mission, both competitive and cooperative, to preserve the Earth as a hospitable and sustainable home.