G-7 pledges to phase out coal but no date
BERLIN — Ministers from the world’s wealthiest democracies agreed on Friday to work to phase out coal-fired power, though they did not set a date for doing so, and said the crisis energy caused by the Russian-Ukrainian war should not derail efforts to combat climate change.
The pledge, released at the end of three days of Group of Seven (G-7) talks in Berlin, was weaker than an earlier draft final statement seen by Reuters, which had included a goal to end the coal-fired power generation unabated by 2030. .
Sources familiar with the talks said Japan and the United States had both indicated they could not support the date.
But the pledge still marked the first commitment by G-7 countries to exit coal power. Coal is the most CO2-emitting fossil fuel and its use must fall if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The group came together against the backdrop of soaring energy prices and concerns about fuel supplies due to the war in Ukraine. The conflict has sparked a scramble among some countries to buy more non-Russian fossil fuels and burn coal to reduce their dependence on Russian supplies.
“Russia’s fossil fuel replacement has dominated political debate and government action in recent weeks and months,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told a news conference.
“But it must be clear to us that the challenges of our political generation, limiting global warming, will not go away if we just focus on the present,” he said. “Time is literally running out.”
The G-7 also agreed to largely decarbonize their electricity sectors by 2035 and to halt public funding of “relentless” fossil fuel projects overseas by the end of this year. , except in limited circumstances. “Relentless” refers to power plants that do not use technology to capture their emissions.
The release committed to a highly decarbonized road sector by 2030, including dramatically increasing the sale, share and adoption of zero-emission lightweight vehicles.
The G-7 also aimed to start reporting publicly next year on how countries are meeting their past commitment to end “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.
All G-7 countries except Japan made funding pledges at the COP26 climate summit last year, and campaigners said it would be a significant shift if Japan – one of the world’s largest financiers of overseas fossil fuel projects – was getting involved. .
Japan provided $10.9 billion for such projects on average per year from 2018 to 2020, most of it spent on oil and gas, according to analysis by the nonprofit Oil Change International.
“If Japan implements this commitment with integrity, it will move $11 billion a year directly from fossil fuels to clean energy and have a much greater indirect impact given Japan’s influence on other financiers. in Asia and around the world,” said Susanne Wong of the Asia Program. Director at Oil Change.
By covering all fossil fuels, including oil and gas, the agreement goes further than a pledge made by G-20 countries last year to end foreign funding for coal only.
The G-7 also pledged to take ambitious action against plastic pollution and increase national efforts to conserve or protect at least 30% of their own coastal and marine areas by 2030.