The G7 Summit on 8 and 9 June 2018 in Charlevoix, Canada, ended in the worst possible outcome. Even an open clash at the negotiation table would have been better than President Trump’s post-summit withdrawal from the joint communique. On his road of destruction of the existing international order, Donald Trump has deprived the G7 of its operating principle: the forging of shared purpose as a basis of joint action among a select group of important countries. This is a bad omen for the upcoming G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, at the end of the year.
If global leaders are running an iron-man race to achieve their national and collective commitments to the Paris Agreement, the G7 meeting of leaders in Charlevoix will be an uphill section of an already grueling course. Expect G7 leaders to reach for aluminium – not plastic – water bottles to quench their thirst during this difficult stretch of the race. Light aluminium water bottles will be heavy with meaning, as G6 leaders consider if they want to limit their ambition to facilitate a G7 consensus on protecting oceans and reducing plastics pollution, or draw the line – acknowledging that action on climate change cannot wait for the next US presidency – and show leadership by issuing an ambitious G6 leaders’ communiqué on climate change, oceans and clean energy.