G7 Fails to Fix Date on Its Pledges to Phase Out Coal Power

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G7 ministers representing the world’s richest democracies failed to set a date on Friday on its agreement to phase out coal-powered energy that resulted from its three days of talks in Berlin.

The group members also agreed to largely decarbonize their power sectors by 2035 as well as to curb public financing for “unabated” fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022, except in limited circumstances.

The G7 meeting was held in light of the fuel supply worries sparked by the war in Ukraine that prompted some countries to buy more non-Russian fossil fuels and burn coal to decrease their reliance on Russian supplies, and the spiraling energy costs.

Coal emits the most climate-killing carbon dioxide of all fossil fuels and if the world is to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, its use needs to be decreased significantly.

Although the pledge is the first G7 countries’ commitment to quit coal-fueled power, both the US and Japan had indicated they could not support that date, as confirmed by sources familiar with the discussions.

The final communique lacked a fixed date although the previous draft of its final commitment, as seen by Reuters, had mentioned 2030 as a target to end unabated coal power generation.

Among the commitments in the communique is the massive decarbonization of the road sector by 2030 along with a significant increase in the sale, share, and uptake of zero-emission light-duty vehicles.

German economy minister Robert Habeck said that the political debate and the government’s actions in the past weeks and months have been focused mainly on replacing fossil fuels from Russia but stressed that it must be clear that if they just concentrate on the present, the challenges of their political generation – limiting global warming – won’t go away.

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