As the leaders of the worldâs wealthiest nations wrapped up their first in-person summit since the outbreak of the pandemic, they released a joint communiquÃ© on Sunday, underscoring areas of solidarity â and the differences that remain â when it comes to tackling a host of global crises.
The group, including President Biden, did not reach agreement on a timeline to eliminate the use of coal for generating electric power, a failure that climate activists said was a deep disappointment ahead of a global climate conference later this year.
The leaders sought to present a united front even as it remained to be seen how the plans would be executed.
The agreement represented a dramatic return of Americaâs postwar international diplomacy, and Mr. Biden said it was evidence of the strength of the worldâs democracies in tackling hard problems.
Speaking to reporters after the summit, Mr. Biden said the leadersâ endorsement of a global minimum tax would help ensure global equity and a proposal to finance infrastructure projects in the developing world would counter the influence of China, providing what he said was a âdemocratic alternative.â
Those initiatives, he said, would promote democratic values and not an âautocratic lack of values.â
âEveryone at the table understood and understands both the seriousness and the challenges that we are up against and the responsibility of our proud democracies to step up and deliver to the rest of the world,â Mr. Biden said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain, who hosted the summit, said that the gathering was an opportunity to demonstrate âthe benefits of democracy.â
That would start, he said, with agreements to speed up the effort to vaccinate the world, which he called âthe greatest feat in medical history.â
Asked about the failure to go further on climate policy by setting firm timelines, Mr. Johnson said that the general criticism was misplaced and failed to take into account the full scope of what was achieved during the summit.
âI think it has been a highly productive few days,â he said.
Mr. Biden hoped to use his first trip abroad to show that democracy, as a system of government, remained capable of addressing the worldâs most pressing challenges.
The communiquÃ© issued on Sunday fleshed out some of the proposals that have dominated the summit and was explicit in the need to counter the rise of China.
âThree years ago, China wasnât even mentioned in the G7 communiquÃ©,â according to an administration official who briefed reporters on its contents. âThis year, there is a section on China that speaks to the importance of coordinating on and responding to Chinaâs nonmarket economic practices and the need to speak out against human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang and Hong Kong.â
The communiquÃ© promised âaction against forced labor practices in the agricultural, solar, and garment sectors.â
It also noted the need for âsupply chain resilience and technology standards so that democracies are aligned and supporting each other.â
At the same time, the nations agreed to an overhaul of international tax laws, unveiling a broad agreement that aims to stop large multinational companies from seeking out tax havens.
The administration official called it a âhistoric endorsement to end the race to the bottom in corporate taxation with a global minimum tax that will help fund domestic renewal and grow the middle class.â
But for all the good will and declarations of unity, there were questions about how the proposals would be translated into real-world action.
For instance, on the tax laws, a number of hurdles have yet to be overcome.
The biggest obstacle to getting a deal finished could come from the United States. The Biden administration must win approval from a narrowly divided Congress to make changes to the tax code, and Republicans have shown resistance to Mr. Bidenâs plans.
President Biden called Queen Elizabeth âextremely graciousâ and said she reminded him of his mother after a meeting at Windsor Castle on Sunday.
âShe reminded me of my mother in terms of the look of her and just the generosity,â he said, adding that he didnât think âshe would be insultedâ by the comparison.
The two traded stories of living in Windsor Castle and the White House and dealing with visits from the public, and they enjoyed tea with the first lady, Dr. Jill Biden.
Mr. Biden said the queen asked about Chinaâs leader, Xi Jinping, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Mr. Biden is meeting with Mr. Putin on Wednesday and wrapped up the Group of 7 meeting on Sunday by cautioning against the growing influence of China.
Before tea, Mr. Biden and the queen inspected an honor guard of grenadiers in the castleâs sun-splashed quadrangle. The queen has sought refuge at Windsor since abandoning Buckingham Palace early last year as the coronavirus pandemic was bearing down on Britain.
It was Mr. Bidenâs last meeting before he left for Brussels, the next stop in his European tour. And it was a gentle coda to a visit that featured an ice-breaking meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose pro-Brexit government was once seen as more ideologically in sync with Mr. Bidenâs predecessor, Donald J. Trump.
Mr. Johnson praised Mr. Biden as a âbreath of fresh airâ and said he and the president were âcompletely on the same pageâ on issues like climate change and education for women and girls.
Still, on every presidential visit to Britain, it is the meeting with the queen that most symbolizes what diplomats on both sides still reflexively call the two nationsâ âspecial relationshipâ â a term Mr. Johnson recently said he did not care for because it made Britain sound needy.
It was the second visit this weekend for the Bidens and the queen. On Friday, in the Cornwall area of Britain, the queen joked with the Group of 7 leaders during a summit photo and cut a cake with a sword.
Mr. Biden had met the queen before this weekend but not since 1982, when he was a senator on a trip sponsored by the British-American Parliamentary Group, which promotes relations between Parliament and Congress.
After nearly seven decades on the throne, the queen has met every American president since Harry S. Truman, except for Lyndon B. Johnson.
President Biden emphasized the need to provide a âdemocratic alternativeâ to the rising influence of China and committed to challenging President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, speaking at a news briefing with reporters on Sunday that capped a summit of the worldâs wealthiest nations.
During the first in-person summit since the outbreak of the pandemic, the leaders of the seven nations tried to present a united front against global threats, issuing a joint communiquÃ© pledging to tackle the pandemic and defend human rights, specifically in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, China.
Mr. Biden told reporters after the meeting that he was âsatisfiedâ with how the joint statement addressed China.
âI think China has to start to act more responsibly in terms of international norms on human rights and transparency,â Mr. Biden said. âTransparency matters across the board.â
In the statement, the seven leaders also described the importance of investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic in China. Mr. Biden, noting that he has not reached a conclusion on the origin of the outbreak, told reporters such a study would require access from China.
Mr. Biden emphasized the need to have an alternative to Chinaâs Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi Jinpingâs overseas lending and investment push, which has now spread across Africa, Latin America and into Europe. Mr. Biden said such a plan would need to prioritize âhigh standards for climate-friendly, transparent alternatives to the Belt and Road Initiative.â
It is far from clear how the wealthy democracies will be able to muster a comprehensive response. The plan appeared to stitch together existing projects in the United States, Europe and Japan, along with an encouragement of private financing.
China downplayed the summitâs actions. âThe days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone,â a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London said in a statement.
Noting Russiaâs interference in U.S. elections, Mr. Biden said relations with Moscow were at a âlow pointâ and committed to being âvery straightforwardâ with Mr. Putin on his concerns during their planned meeting on Wednesday in Geneva.
But he also raised areas for potential compromise, including providing food and humanitarian assistance to people in Syria.
âRussia has engaged in activities which we believe are contrary to international norms, but they have also bitten off some real problems theyâre going to have trouble chewing on,â Mr. Biden said.
He also indicated he was open to Mr. Putinâs proposal to extradite Russian cybercriminals to the United States, on the condition that the Biden administration do the same.
Mr. Biden said that if there are those who have committed crimes against Russia, âIâm committed to holding them accountable.â
âI think thatâs potentially a good sign of progress,â Mr. Biden said.
In ways both spoken and unspoken, one nation not present at the meeting of industrial powers has loomed larger than any other: China.
And China, through its embassy in London, offered a warning to the Group of 7.
âThe days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone,â a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London said in a statement.
President Biden has made challenging China the centerpiece of a foreign policy designed to build up democracies around the world as a bulwark against creeping authoritarianism.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, who is traveling here with Mr. Biden, told his Chinese counterpart in a phone call that the United States would actively oppose âongoing genocide and ethnic cleansingâ against Muslims in Xinjiang, in Chinaâs far western territory, and âthe deterioration of democratic normsâ in Hong Kong. European leaders have largely avoided that terminology.
Throughout the G7 meeting, how to counter Chinaâs growing economic and security influence has been a central theme.
But even as the United States and its allies pressed China on human rights and outlined policies clearly aimed at stemming Chinese influence, the countryâs cooperation is also essential in combating climate change, a major focus of the summit.
Beijing, for its part, has pointed to the poor U.S. response to the pandemic and Americaâs divisive domestic politics as signs that democracy is failing.
The embassy spokesman condemned âpseudo-multilateralism serving the interests of a small clique or political bloc.â
After the G7 leaders outlined plans to offer developing nations hundreds of billions of dollars in financing as an alternative to relying on Beijingâs Belt and Road Initiative, the spokesman condemned âthose fanning confrontation.â
âGanging up, pursuing bloc politics and forming small cliques are unpopular and doomed to fail,â the spokesman said.
President Biden, who pledged to lead the world in tackling climate change, failed along with the leaders of the worldâs other wealthiest nations to set a firm end date on the use of coal, the burning of which is one of the biggest contributors to global warming.
The Group of 7 did promise to end by 2022 international funding for coal projects that do not include technology to capture and store carbon dioxide emissions, promised to achieve an âoverwhelmingly decarbonizedâ electricity sector by the end of the decade, and said they would deliver $2 billion to help nations pivot away from fossil fuels, major steps in what leaders hope will be a global transition to wind, solar and other energy that does not produce planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions.
But energy experts said the inability of the G7 nations, which together produce about a quarter of the worldâs climate pollution, to agree on a specific end date on the use of coal in their home countries weakens the ability of those same nations to lean on China to curb its own coal use.
At the same time, leaders also agreed to raise their contributions and meet an overdue pledge of mobilizing $100 billion a year to help poorer countries cut emissions and cope with the consequences of climate change.
Firm dollar figures, however, were not on the table.
âItâs very disappointing,â said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. âThis was a moment when the G7 could have shown historic leadership, and instead they left a massive void.â
She said the United States in particular had a chance to lead countries in stronger language pivoting away from fossil fuels this decade. But, she said, of the Biden administration, âIt doesnât seem like they were the ambition setters at this G7.â
Diplomats and leading advocates of action against climate change called the overall climate package a mixed bag. Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, who served as Franceâs chief climate ambassador during the 2015 Paris negotiations, said she was pleased that nations would end international coal financing.
âThat leaves China to decide now if they want to still be the backers of coal globally because they will be the only one,â she said. But she called the financing package for vulnerable countries lacking. âIn the face of the perfect storm of planetary crises â climate, Covid, injustice and ecosystem collapse â the worldâs richest democracies have responded with a plan to make a plan, not yet a plan of action,â she said.
In a video message to the leaders on Sunday as they met to discuss climate issues, the naturalist Sir David Attenborough said the decisions the richest nations are making today were âthe most important in human history.â
âThe natural world today is greatly diminished,â he said. âOur climate is warming fast. That is beyond doubt. Our societies and nations are unequal and that is sadly plain to see.â
Only the most urgent action, he said, could stave off catastrophe.
âWe have the skills to address climate change in time,â he said. âAll we need is the global will to do so.â
Laurence Harris/Associated Press
Universal History Archive/Getty Images
Bob Daugherty/Associated Press
J. David Ake/Agence France-Presse â Getty Images
Paul Richards/Agence France-Presse â Getty Images
Pool photo by Dominic Liplinski
Doug Mills/The New York Times
Pool photo by Victoria Jones
There was a promise of a comprehensive effort to bring the pandemic to an end. And discussion about how to address President Bidenâs call to counter Chinaâs growing influence. And hours of negotiations between leaders of the worldâs wealthiest democracies on how to confront the global threat posed by climate change.
While it remains to be seen what comes of the sweeping promises and grand ambitions laid out during the summit of the Group of 7 industrialized nations, the gathering on the Cornish coast marked a dramatic return of international diplomacy.
âIt is great to have a U.S. president whoâs part of the club and very willing to cooperate,â President Emmanuel Macron of France said after meeting Mr. Biden. âWhat you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership.â
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, noted the return of a more traditional American foreign policy after four years of President Donald J. Trumpâs disregard for international alliances.
âJoe Biden being elected to the White House doesnât mean the world doesnât have any problems any more,â she said. âBut we can now look for solutions to these problems with more zest, and I think that it was great that, at this G7, we were able to make things more concrete.â
As if to underscore the evolving nature of the challenges facing the leaders as they gathered in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic, all internet and Wi-Fi links around the room where the they met on Saturday were cut off out of concern about pervasive surveillance.
After wrapping up his visit to Britain, Mr. Biden will travel to Brussels on Sunday for a NATO summit where some of the issues raised at the G7 meeting will be on the agenda once again, but viewed through the lens of the collective defense of the alliance â including dealing with emerging technological threats.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in advance of the meeting that he expected a new cyber defense policy. âIt will recognize that cyberspace is contested at all times,â he said.
After the NATO summit, Mr. Biden will meet with leaders of the European Union before he sits down on Wednesday with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
One of the animating themes of Mr. Bidenâs foreign policy has been that the United States and its allies are engaged in an existential battle between democracy and autocracy â and that democracies must prove they can meet the challenges of the moment.
The president began his trip on Wednesday by telling American troops in Britain that the future of the world depends on restoring the longstanding alliances with European countries that had been âhardened in the fire of warâ and built by âgenerations of Americans.â
Speaking at R.A.F. Mildenhall, he vowed to stand up to adversaries like China and Russia, pledging to to tell Mr. Putin âwhat I want him to know.â
The âsausage warsâ between Britain and the European Union escalated on Sunday when a senior British official accused the blocâs leaders of holding âoffensiveâ views about the status of Northern Ireland.
The comments by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab followed a report in the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph that President Emmanuel Macron of France had suggested that Northern Ireland was not part of the same country as mainland Britain.
That version of events was disputed by Mr. Macronâs office, though it did not deny that he had discussed the status of Northern Ireland with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, at the Group of 7 summit in Cornwall, England.
The rift stems from something called the Northern Ireland protocol, which was designed to avoid a hard border after Brexit between Northern Ireland and Ireland, an E.U. member country. But the protocol left Northern Ireland straddling the British and E.U. trading systems, and that could lead to shortages of some products in Northern Ireland, particularly chilled meats like sausages, when some of its provisions are scheduled to take full effect at the end of the month.
The two sides have been trying for months to find a more workable arrangement, but as the deadline approaches things have grown increasingly heated, with each accusing the other of bad faith and seeking to claim whatever high ground there is in the dispute.
Mr. Johnson argues that the European Union is being overzealous in its enforcement demands and inflexible in seeking solutions. The blocâs officials have accused Britain of failing to implement the terms of a treaty Mr. Johnson himself agreed to and ratified.
The current bickering appears to have arisen when Mr. Johnson questioned how Mr. Macron would react if shipments of Toulouse sausages to Paris were impeded.
Asked in a BBC interview to confirm Mr. Macronâs comments, Mr. Raab said he would not âdivulge the detail of what was discussed behind closed doors,â but then took the opportunity to criticize the European Unionâs leadership.
âWhat I can tell you is various E.U. figures here, but frankly for months now, and years have characterized Northern Ireland as somehow a separate country and that is wrong.â
He added: âIt is a failure to understand the facts.â
Mr. Macronâs office said that the exchange with Mr. Johnson took place but said the French president was talking about Toulouse and Paris being part of a âsingle geographic area,â not about whether Northern Ireland was legally part of the United Kingdom.
Speaking at a news conference later, Mr. Macron tried to make light of the affair, saying that France has âmany cities, many regionsâ with excellent sausages. He added: âLet us not waste time with controversies that are often created in corridors and antechambers.â
The dispute has widened in recent months, with President Biden warning Mr. Johnson in quite blunt terms not to undermine or renounce the protocol. That, in turn, might lead to a hard land border that could threaten the landmark 1998 Good Friday agreement that ended three decades of sectarian strife in Northern Ireland.
Northern Irelandâs unionist and loyalist parties, which favor remaining in the United Kingdom, were outraged by the protocol, calling it a âbetrayalâ because Mr. Johnson broke a promise never to accept a border between them and the rest of Britain. That has provoked angry protests already in Northern Ireland, and could spark more in the summerâs âmarching season.â
Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.
Even as the Group of 7 announced during its summit this week that its member nations would donate one billion coronavirus vaccine doses to poorer nations, the gatheringâs host country, Britain, is facing a reminder that it isnât out of the woods yet on the pandemic either.
The news media call June 21 âfreedom dayâ â the fast-approaching moment when Englandâs remaining coronavirus restrictions are scheduled to be cast off, allowing pubs to fill to capacity, nightclubs to open their doors and the curtain to rise in theaters around the country.
But a recent spike in cases of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant called Delta has prompted such alarm among scientists and health professionals that the country now seems destined to wait a little longer for its liberty.
For Prime Minister Boris Johnson, oft accused of doing too little, too late to combat the virus, the stakes are high. The question is not so much whether to postpone âfreedom day,â but to what degree. Four weeks seems to be the maximum under consideration, with some advocating a limited version of the full opening and others favoring a two-week delay.
An announcement on the next steps is scheduled for Monday, and Mr. Johnson planned to study the data this weekend. But many health professionals have already made up their minds over the seriousness of the threat from the Delta variant, first detected in India.
The concern is that a surge of cases caused by the new variant could translate into a sharper uptick in hospitalizations and risk the virus once again overwhelming the National Health Service.
President Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain â using their first meeting to redefine the Western alliance and accentuate what they said was a growing divide between battered democracies and their autocratic rivals, led by Russia and China â signed a new version of the 80-year-old Atlantic Charter on Thursday.
The two leaders unveiled the new charter as they sought to focus the worldâs attention on emerging threats from cyberattacks, the Covid-19 pandemic that has upended the global economy, and climate change, using language about reinforcing NATO and international institutions that Mr. Biden hoped would make clear that the Trump era of America First was over.
The new charter, a 604-word declaration, was an effort to stake out a grand vision for global relationships in the 21st century, just as the original, first drafted by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, was a declaration of a Western commitment to democracy and territorial integrity just months before the United States entered World War II.
âIt was a statement of first principles, a promise that the United Kingdom and the United States would meet the challenges of their age and that weâd meet it together,â Mr. Biden said after his private meeting with Mr. Johnson. âToday, we build on that commitment, with a revitalized Atlantic Charter, updated to reaffirm that promise while speaking directly to the key challenges of this century.â