Group of Seven pledges to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2035

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Top environment ministers from major industrial nations in the Group of Seven agreed on Friday to end public funding for international coal-fired power generation and accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired power plants by 2035.

The group said it would aim to have “primarily decarbonized electricity sectors by 2035”.

Commitments to phase out coal-fired power plants will particularly affect Japan, which relies heavily on coal-fired power plants.

Relentless coal-fired plants include those that have yet to adopt carbon dioxide capture and utilization technology.

G-7 ministers also said new on-road vehicles in their countries would be “primarily” zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and that there would be accelerated reductions in the use of Russian natural gas, which would be replaced by long-term clean energy. .

The private sector in major industrial countries must increase its funding, the ministers said, from “billions to trillions”. The group recognized the need established by the International Energy Agency for G-7 economies to invest at least $1.3 trillion in renewable energy, tripling investment in electricity and energy grids. clean energy between 2021 and 2030.

“The G-7 pledging to end public funding for fossil fuels and move it to clean energy is a massive victory,” said Bronwen Tucker, co-head of public fundraising campaign at Oil Change International. , in a press release. “We now need concrete actions, not just words.”

Friday’s pledges mark the latest in a global push for nations – and especially the biggest and wealthiest – to stop public funding of fossil fuel projects around the world and to help developing countries develop their savings without relying on dirty fuels such as coal.

The effort has gained momentum in recent years, even as the transition to cleaner forms of energy is not happening as quickly as scientists say is necessary for the world to meet the targets of the agreement. Paris on the climate.

At a major United Nations climate conference last fall in Glasgow, dozens of countries pledged to phase out their use of coal. While nations like Poland and Vietnam have joined the pact, some of the world’s largest users of global heating fuel, including China and the United States, have not signed the agreement.

The United States and nearly two dozen other countries, however, have adopted a separate agreement pledging to stop spending taxpayers’ money to support international fossil fuel projects, a move the group says would divert 18 billion dollars a year towards clean energy.

Over 20 countries at COP26 pledge to end funding for international fossil fuel projects

This promise to restrict public money for foreign fossil fuel projects does not affect what countries do at home. China, Japan and South Korea, which together account for nearly half of international public funding for fossil fuel projects, did not join this agreement at the climate conference, known as COP26.

While the final pact that nearly 200 nations agreed to in Glasgow included the first explicit mention of “coal subsidies” and “fossil fuel subsidies”, the language of this provision was watered down during the summit. He ultimately called on nations to “phase-down” rather than “eliminate” only “relentless” coal and “ineffective” fossil fuel subsidies.

Stopping the flow of money to the development of new fossil fuels is key to meeting global climate goals, activists and analysts say. Last spring, the International Energy Agency released a “road map” to zero carbon emissions by 2050; according to this plan, there should be no further development of fossil fuel supply after this year.

But the world is still heavily dependent on fossil fuels, especially the world’s largest emitters.

When US greenhouse gas emissions roared in 2021 after a brief dip during the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic, a big factor was a 17% increase in coal-fired electricity, according to an analysis by the Rhodium Group.

And last November, Chinese officials reported that their coal production had reached its highest level in years, the same day officials in the Indian capital prepared for a shutdown due to air pollution.

Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate think tank E3G, said it was critical that G-7 leaders find ways to accelerate the transition to cleaner energy this decade.

“We needed a commitment from G7 countries to completely decarbonize their electricity sector and phase out the use of coal by 2030,” he said in an email.

Even as many developed economies are beginning to transition to cleaner forms of energy and reduce their overall emissions over time, it is in the developing world that scientists and conservationists say a Serious funding is needed to help nations grow greener and avoid being locked into fossil fuels. fuel infrastructure.

The world’s richest nations have repeatedly pledged to provide at least $100 billion a year in climate finance to help poorer countries cope with the impacts of climate change and boost clean energy – even though this is only a fraction of the funding needed for such purposes.

But the developed world has yet to deliver on that promise. Even President Biden, who has requested more than $11 billion each year for such funding, has failed to convince Congress to provide such an amount.

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