Joe Biden Arrives In Cornwall For The Greenest G7 Summit In History

President Joe Biden has arrived in Cornwall, U.K., for his first G7 summit and the greenest one ever hosted.

Air Force One landed in the early hours of Thursday (10 June) in thick fog at Newquay Airport from RAF Mildenhall where Biden gave a powerful speech. “We’re going to clear that the United States is back and the democracies of the world are standing together to face the toughest challenges,” he told stationed U.S. Air Force personal.

The presidential motorcade then took Biden from Newquay Airport to Carbis Bay, the site of this year’s G7 summit, the Cornish weather having prohibited Marine One from making the short trip.

Climate change, the global rollout of a coronavirus vaccine and issues involving China and Russia are key agenda items for the event, which takes place between Friday (11 June) and Sunday (13 June) when Biden departs for meetings with Queen Elizabeth, NATO and Vladimir Putin.

“We will begin the framing of a new global treaty on pandemic preparedness so the world is never caught out in the same way again,” Johnson said before meeting Biden for the first time since either leader took office.

The U.K. wants to draw up a new Atlantic Charter with the U.S., 80 years after Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed the first joint statement on the two nations’ goals.

Originally designed to promote democracy and free trade, Johnson wants an updated Atlantic Charter this time round. “President Biden and I will sign a charter that encompasses science, technology and trade and, above all, that underscores our joint commitment to Nato that has been indispensable to our security for decades,” says Johnson.

The summit will also be Boris Johnson’s first and Angela Merkel’s last. The British prime minister arrived at Newquay Airport hours before the U.S. president. Merkel is expected to arrive later on Thursday along with the other G7 members: Canada’s Justin Trudeau, France’s Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Mario Draghi and Japan’s Yoshihide Suga.

Alongside the G7 leaders, Johnson has invited the heads of the E.U., South Korea, Australia, South Africa, and India to attend the event, though the latter’s leader, Narendra Modi, cancelled an in-person presence due to the coronavirus situation in his country.

The Cornwall Summit

In a message to world leaders, the entire G7 event will be carbon neutral, and Cornwall, the south westernmost county of the U.K. where the event is hosted, is set to become the country’s first to reach net zero carbon emissions.

“As the eyes of the world look to Cornwall this week, not only will they see an area of outstanding beauty, they will witness a region that is innovative, exciting and looking firmly towards a bright future,” U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson said in a statement on Tuesday (8 June).

His “bright future” is likely to highlight the county’s growing “greentech” economy which he will show off to world.

Over the weekend, the G7 entourage is expected to visit the Eden Project, a giant bio-dome housing a tropical rainforest. The vast complex conducts research into rainforests and ecology.

Nearby, a new mining firm, British Lithium, is attempting to extract lithium in an environmentally friendly fashion. Currently most lithium, a critical component of batteries and therefore electric cars, is mined from Chile and China where it causes serious environmental issues.

In a former mining area, a pioneering project is tapping geothermal energy for power generation. The UDDGP project, near United Downs, is the first geothermal power plant in the U.K., and if it proves successful, could be replicated across the country.

Another source of renewable energy is being trialled off the very coastline where the G7 leaders are staying. A wave hub is being set up several miles off the coast of Carbis Bay to harness renewable energy from the waves that pound Cornwall’s 422 mile coastline.

Mount Recyclemore To Stare Down G7 Leaders

But the success of this year’s G7 summit will not be measured by case studies nor carbon neutral commitments, but by pledges made by the world leaders.

There as a constant reminder to world leaders of the environmental agenda is a newly erected artwork built in the style of Mount Rushmore and in the likeness of each of the seven leaders: Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, Justin Trudeau, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Mario Draghi and Yoshihide Suga.

However, “Mount Recyclemore” has been built entirely out of discarded electronics, such as iPhones, TVs and circuit boards.

MusicMagpie, an electronics recycling retailer, commissioned the installation from the British artist Joe Rush to draw attention to the problem of e-waste. MusicMagpie’s CEO, Steve Oliver, says e-waste is a massive problem for the G7. More than 53 million tons of e-waste is created globally, “the G7 contributes close to 40% of that,” he says.

On the beach directly below Mount Recyclemore is another installation, albeit a more temporary one. Two giant footprints in the sand show that the average carbon emission per capita per person in the G7 countries is double the global average.

The images were created by Cornish sand artist One Man and His Rake for the sustainable footwear brand Allbirds.

“We need to see the leaders of the G7 use their global leadership position to drive down their carbon footprints today,” says Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger

Over the next three days, various other campaign groups in Cornwall will demand action is taken on issues ranging from vaccinating the world to protecting its oceans, leaving leaders with little time to enjoy the Cornwall’s many attractions.

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