The Group of Seven nations has been accused of “backsliding” on climate goals after they watered down pledges to halt fossil fuel investments.
In its final communique from the G7 summit, the nations said investment in liquefied natural gas was a “necessary response to the current crisis,” adding that publicly-supported investment in the gas sector is an appropriate temporary response.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine has forced Europe to reduce its reliance on gas from Russia. Russia also continues to squeeze its supplies to the continent. This has sparked fears of energy shortages this winter.
Some countries have already said they will restart previously-mothballed coal power stations in an attempt to ensure energy supplies for the winter.
But climate groups and experts on global warming have staunchly criticized the G7 for failing to deliver new financial pledges, and for its renewed focus on gas.
Experts and campaign groups said lives are on the line, and that the world cannot afford this backsliding.
The G7 also included a loophole to a previous pledge to end investments in overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of this year. The loophole said there would be an exception “in limited circumstances defined by each country consistent with a 1.5C warming limit”.
Nearly 200 countries agreed to limit global warming to ideally 1.5C in order to avoid catastrophic climate change at the 2015 Paris Accord.
The G7 industrialized democracies allowed themselves leeway to continue using non-offset fossil fuel investments in “exceptional” circumstances despite their earlier commitments.
This will only intensify concerns ahead of the UN COP27 climate summit in November. Every country that signed the Paris climate accord is supposed to come up with improved climate targets ahead of the climate summit. But almost none have done so since the last climate summit.