The faces of the G7 leaders are seen reproduced by local Basque sand artist Sam Dougados in the sand on a beach with a message on gender equality in Biarritz on the eve of the Biarritz G7 summit, France, Aug. 23, 2019. (Regis Duvignau/REUTERS)

What world leaders are expected to discuss at the G7 summit

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Climate change, fading global economic growth and relations with China are likely to dominate discussions at the G7 leaders’ summit as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joins his British, French, German, Italian, Japanese and U.S. counterparts in the French resort town of Biarritz.

Summit host, French President Emmanuel Macron, is expected to focus this year’s meeting on fighting inequality and climate change.

However, relations with China are also expected to take centre stage during the meetings amid the escalating U.S.-China trade war and ongoing protests in Hong Kong, as well as Ottawa’s diplomatic row with Beijing.

Experts expect Trudeau to seek the support of G7 leaders in Ottawa’s efforts to secure the release of detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from Chinese custody.

John Kirton, director of the G7 and G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, said the unprecedented forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and the Siberian taiga in Russia have propelled the climate change issue to the forefront of the summit.

Climate change is a top of the mind subject for Canadian voters as they get to vote in a federal election on Oct. 21, Kirton told Radio Canada International from the media centre in Biarritz.

“The polls in Germany are showing a similar centrality for climate change, and with massive historically high heat waves throughout Europe, in France, forest fires in Siberia, Alaska, the smoke from Siberia harming the health of Canadians in Vancouver and Americans all down the West Coast, people get it,” Kirton said.

“And of course Mr. Macron, the host, has just said that the forest fires in the Amazon are going to be the number one issue he wants to raise.”

(click to listen to the full interview with Prof. John Kirton)

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