G7 to launch ‘green belt and road’ plan to counter China

g7 summit's green belt and road initiative
The green belt and road initiative by the G7 summit is seen as an effort by the Western powers to retain world leadership in an era of increasing Chinese influence.

The green belt and road plan: The G7 Summit will come up with a plan to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative that will mobilise billions of dollars to help developing countries address the climate change threat. US president Joe Biden is leading the West’s effort to create a source of infrastructure finance that will curb Beijing’s influence by offering an alternative to cheap Chinese loans.

The plan, the “green belt and road” initiative, will provide funds to developing countries to cut carbon emissions and meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement. While many G7 leaders have been careful in protecting the initiative from being branded as an anti-China effort, the Biden administration has been brazen about countering Chinese influence. The initiative looks to increase climate funding from multilateral development organisations and private corporations on the lines of the Marshall Plan. G7 leaders would raise their contribution to climate finance to meet the target of $100 billion a year.

The leaders will also pledge to phase out cars run on carbon fuels as well as all power plants using coal as feedstock. The declaration will showcase the commitment of the West towards climate action.

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Why green belt and road plan

The G7 meeting is seen as an effort by the Western powers to retain world leadership in an era marked by increasing Chinese influence. And for President Biden, it is the occasion to announce that the US is back from the isolationist ways of the Trump era. Biden has been forthcoming about his intentions to lead the West to curb the influence of Russia and China.

The green initiative by the G7 is seen as a message to China that claims that the West is on terminal decline. The club of democracies tag of the G7 will give it extra credibility as a world leader amid rising tensions with the Asian giant. The G7 is the creation of the cold war that brought together leading western powers — the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada — in 1970s.

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What marks the difference today is the declining economic clout of the West. The G7 accounted for more than 80% of the global economy in 1970 and has been reduced to less than 40% today. So, the effort to cough up more funds for climate action is an attempt by G7 countries to show the world that they still matter, despite the increasing clout of China.

The green funds initiative will help the G7 claim moral leadership of the world as it comes right after a revolutionary agreement for a global minimum corporate tax rate, reached by the grouping’s finance ministers earlier this week.

China responded in its typical way to the developments at Cornwell. It said the days are gone when a small group of countries could decide the world’s fate. The bold statement by a Chinese embassy spokesman in London will remind the G7 leaders that many of their programmes, including the anti-Covid drive, cannot be accomplished without China’s cooperation.

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Anil Nair is Founder and Editor, Policy Circle.