World

Stronger steer from G7
leaders needed to overcome
energy crisis: Oxfam

Oxfam’s European Union Office head Natalia Alonso says G7 leaders have missed the opportunity to turn the energy crisis with Rusia toward steering Europe and the world onto a clean energy path, which would save Europe money and prevent the worst impact of climate change at home and abroad.

“The G7 leaders offered climate action with one hand, making good pledges on energy efficiency and renewable energy, only to snatch it away with the other by continuing to trumpet indigenous hydrocarbon resources, which are expensive, unproven and dirty, such as shale gas,” Alonso said in a recent release.

She said Europe’s dependence on dirty energy was pushing up fuel prices and driving climate change, which meant higher food prices in Europe and worldwide.

“If leaders don’t break their fossil fuel habit, poor people in Europe may be left to choose between eating and heating,” she said.

On Thursday, the G7 leaders backed the Rome G7 Energy Initiative, adopted by their ministers last month, and stressed the urgency of reaching a global climate change deal at next year’s UN climate talks in Paris.

Alonso said that ahead of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit in September, Europe and the G7 needed to take bold steps to wean countries off dirty fuels and promise cash for the new global Green Climate Fund to help the world’s poorest countries tackle climate change.

Energy security, climate change and the global economy were among the main topics the G7 leaders addressed during the Brussels summit last week.

The G7 leaders reaffirmed their commitment to end financial secrecy and tax evasion. However, details were still lacking on how they were going to take further action on wealth inequality, which blocks growth and the creation of jobs.

“Today, the 85 richest people in the world own as much wealth as half the world’s poorest [or 3.5 billion] people. At least US$18.5 trillion is hidden by wealthy individuals in tax havens worldwide, representing a loss of more than $156 billion in tax revenue – money that could be invested in promoting equitable and sustainable growth and jobs,” Alonso said. (ebf)

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