G7 vows to step up moves to renewable energy, zero carbon

Energy and environment ministers from the Group of Seven nations vowed on Sunday to work to speed up the shift to cleaner, renewable energy, but set no timetable Phasing out coal-fired power plants They concluded two days of talks in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo.

Officials issued a 36-page communiqué setting out their commitments ahead of the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima in May.

Japan’s national strategy has won the support of other G7 nations by emphasizing so-called clean coal, hydrogen and nuclear power to help ensure its energy security.

“Recognizing the current global energy crisis and economic turmoil, we reaffirm our commitment to accelerate the transition from clean energy to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 at the latest,” the communiqué said.

Leaders reiterate the need Urgent reduction of carbon emissions Achieving “decarbonization of the main electricity sector” by 2035.

“We call for and will work with other countries to end new unabated coal-fired power generation globally as soon as possible and accelerate the transition to clean energy in a fair manner,” the document said.

The mandate for countries to rely “primarily” on clean energy by 2035 is Continue to use fossil fuels to generate electricity. But ministers agreed to prioritize steps to phase out “unabated” coal power generation – plants that do not employ mechanisms to capture emissions and prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere.

The US presidential climate envoy John Kerry said the meetings were “very constructive”.

“I think the solidarity expressed about the goal of phasing out unabated fossil fuels is a very important statement,” Kerry told The Associated Press in an interview.

The call to action comes as China and other developing countries step up demands for more help to phase out fossil fuels and stabilize energy prices and supplies amid the devastation of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The issue of setting a timetable for phasing out coal-fired power plants is a long-standing sticking point. Japan relies on coal for nearly a third of its power generation and is also promoting the use of so-called clean coal, using technology to capture carbon emissions and produce hydrogen – which produces only water when used as fuel.

The G7 countries account for 40 percent of world economic activity and a quarter of global carbon emissions. Their actions matter, but so does their support for less wealthy countries, which often suffer the worst effects of climate change while having the fewest resources to mitigate such effects.

Emissions in advanced economies are falling, even though they have historically been higher — the U.S. alone accounts for about a quarter of historical global carbon emissions — while emerging market and developing economies now account for half of global carbon emissions More than two-thirds.

The chair-designate of the next U.N. climate talks, COP28, who also joined the talks in Sapporo, issued a statement urging G7 countries to increase financial support for developing countries to transition to clean energy.

Sultan Al Jaber urged other leaders to help secure a “new deal” on climate finance to boost efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and help protect biodiversity, especially in developing countries.

“We must reach a fairer deal for the global south,” he said. “It’s not enough to reach the people and places that need it most.”

Developed countries must deliver on the $100 billion pledge they made at COP15 in 2009, he said. The next meeting will be held in Dubai in late November.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said in a joint statement: “We remain very concerned that funding from developed countries continues to fall short of the promised $100 billion a year.”

Lula Meets with Xi Jinping Friday in Beijing.

India’s Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav said in a tweet that economic development is the first line of defense against climate change.

“Achieving the global goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 will require developed countries to step up their efforts to reduce emissions,” Yadav said, giving countries like India room to grow their economies, which is the best way to combat the effects of climate change, environmental degradation and pollution. “

Climate advocates say the document drafted in Sapporo contains plenty of nuance to allow for differences among the G-7 energy strategies.

“They have made bold statements about the urgency of addressing the climate crisis, but the real test will be their commitment to expand their ambitions to the rest of the world,” Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate change research group E3G think tank, said after the communique was released. Said at the Twitter Space conference shortly.

But while other G7 nations have blocked Japan from widening the loophole to allow wider use of fossil fuels, Meyer said those pledges “fell short of the clarion calls for action”.

As G7 energy and environment ministers wrap up their meeting in Sapporo, the mountain town of Karuizawa further south G7 foreign ministers Efforts are underway to address other shared concerns, including regional security and the war in Ukraine.

The war has complicated efforts to shift to renewable energy by disrupting oil and gas trade and driving up prices. It had to end for many reasons.

“It’s crazy and tragic,” Kerry said, but phasing out carbon emissions can and must continue.

“I think energy security is exaggerated in some cases,” Kerry said, noting Germany’s progress in adopting renewable energy.

Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press

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