- G7 leaders announced an initiative to counter Chinese infrastructure developments in low and middle-income countries.
- The initiative includes new oil and natural gas investments as Europe deals with an energy crisis, according to a Tuesday memo.
- “If that’s the case, it’s a fairly major development and major reversal of previous policy,” said Dr. Thomas Deusterberg.
The Group of Seven (G7) doubled down on its climate pledge Tuesday while making carve-outs for oil and natural gas infrastructure to aid developing countries.
Leaders of the G7 wealthy democracies announced the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment,” (PGII) a multilateral investment program to counter China’s exploitative “Belt and Road Initiative” in low and middle-income countries, at a meeting in Germany on Sunday, Reuters reported. The initiative promises $600 billion over five years for infrastructure projects, with the U.S. supplying $200 billion of the total from federal and private sector funds, according to a White House fact sheet.
The BRI has received widespread criticism for its exploitative practices since launching in 2013. Chinese state-operated companies typically own the infrastructure projects in developing countries, importing Chinese labor while saddling host countries with predatory debt, Dr. Thomas Duesterberg, an expert on international economics at the Hudson Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Countries are legitimately looking for alternatives. Hopefully that will allow countries to have a choice between Chinese equipment, which always has surveillance capabilities for Huawei, and other countries’,” said Deusterberg.
“That’s a positive thing,” he said.
Some of these projects could include oil and gas production facilities to mediate the energy crisis caused by Russia’s cuts to fossil fuel exports, according to Deusterberg. “If that’s the case, it’s a fairly major development and major reversal of previous policy,” he told TheDCNF.
We’re wheels down in Germany for the G7.
I look forward to conversations around our nations’ shared values and priorities: climate, development infrastructure, global health security, and shaping the rules of the road for the economy and technology for decades to come. pic.twitter.com/M63vwWXyht
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 26, 2022
Many developing nations in Africa have asked wealthier countries to aid in expanding energy infrastructure, including oil and gas, Duesterberg explained.
“Gas projects will help everybody. A lot of it will go to solar and windmills, but it appears they’re going to allow some fossil fuel projects, namely natural gas,” said Duesterberg.
A memo released June 28 at the G7 summit includes an expected pledge to phase out fully new oil and gas projects abroad by the end of 2022, but it also carves out a provision for “exceptional circumstances.” Russia restricted liquid natural gas flows to Europe in June as a response to sanctions, driving some countries, including Germany, to turn to less environmentally-friendly alternatives.
“In the present situation we’ll have short-term needs that will require large investments in gas infrastructure in developing countries and elsewhere,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Sunday, according to Bloomberg.
“We will also provide assistance to developing countries, and will intensify our steps to support global energy market stability, through short term increase in our collective production, appropriate use of our energy reserves and by working with international partners to do the same,” the G7 memo stated, calling on major oil producers to bolster production.
French President Emmanuel Macron supported new oil and gas projects at a meeting with African leaders on Monday, Bloomberg reported.
PGII will address climate, global health, gender equality, information communications technology and a host of other issues, according to the White House fact sheet. U.S. projects will include a solar farm in Angola and a vaccine production facility in Senegal.
“I want to be clear. This isn’t aid or charity. It’s an investment that will deliver returns for everyone,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement.
The U.S., UK, France, Italy, Canada and Japan have all announced projects as part of the Partnership, Reuters reported.
The German government did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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