Campaigners have converged on Cornwall to demand world leaders take action on climate change at the G7 summit.
Dozens of protests have been taking place across the weekend, including a mass ‘paddle out’ and a boat being torched by Extinction Rebellion.
The summit is being held in a luxury hotel in Carbis Bay and security around the venue is tight but groups have been trying different ways to make their voices heard.
Surfers Against Sewage campaigners grabbed their surfboards and kayaks to stage a mass ‘paddle out’ on Saturday to call for more to be done to protect the oceans from environmental damage.
And Greenpeace sent a swarm of 300 drones on Friday night to Cornwall and put on a lights display urging leaders to ‘act now’.
Meanwhile, activists from Oxfam donned giant heads to represent each of the world leaders and sat on the beach in deckchairs as they called for countries to commit to cutting emissions ‘further and faster.’
Extinction Rebellion have had a presence in Cornwall throughout the event and are staging several demonstrations daily. On Friday night activists from the splinter group Ocean Rebellion dressed as Boris Johnson and set fire to a boat.
Surfers against Sewage said 1,000 people took to the water to send a message to G7 leaders that they need to take ‘radical action’ to save the world’s seas.
The paddle-out was held at Gyllyngvase Beach near Falmouth, less than an hour’s drive from where the summit is being held.
Those taking part carried placards, while a giant inflatable shark joined the display.
Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, said: ‘We’ve seen in the pandemic that they can mobilise huge amounts of money and collaborate to create vaccines in just a year.
‘But they need to act with the same urgency for the nature, biodiversity and ecological crisis. Now’s the time for radical action – business as usual is killing planet ocean.’
Oxfam staged its protest on Swanpool Beach. The charity has called on G7 leaders to commit to cutting emissions further and faster, and to provide more finance to help the most vulnerable countries respond to the impacts of climate change.
Earlier this week, the Prince of Wales urged G7 leaders to display the same sense of urgency in tackling climate change as they showed in tackling the pandemic.
Campaigners have also used the summit to call for the Government to reverse plans to cut foreign aid.
Boris Johnson is pushing his vision of a ‘global Britain’ inside the meeting but critics say this is at odds with his plan to slash the annual aid budget from 0.7% of national income to 0.5%.
Rebel Tory MPs failed to overturn the £4billion worth of cuts in the Commons on Monday but are still demanding a vote on the issue, although Number 10 claim the changes fall within existing laws.
Tim, Wainwright, the chief executive of WaterAid, said the cuts will slash spending on essentials ‘such as clean water and soap for the world’s poorest people’ which will see ‘lives lost.’ He said the G7 was Mr Johnson’s chance to ‘redeem himself’.
Inside the summit, leaders have been working on a new plan – the Carbis Bay Declaration – intended to quash future pandemics within the first 100 days.
The UK has also announced it will create a new animal vaccine centre aimed at preventing future diseases crossing from creatures to humans.
Leaders of South Korea, India, Australia and South Africa are taking part in summit events, expanding the G7 beyond its core member countries.
At the end of the day, the leaders attending the event will relax with a barbecue on the beach cooked by Simon Stallard, chef at the Hidden Hut in Portscatho.
They will be served sirloin and lobster and can then enjoy hot buttered rum and toasted marshmallows around fire pits on the beach.
Sea shanty group Du Hag Owr will provide the musical accompaniment, and there will also be a Red Arrows flypast.
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