In the fight for the climate, the G7 agrees to stop the international financing of coal

Heavy equipment mined anthracite coal from a surface mine in New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA, July 13, 2020. Photo taken July 13, 2020. REUTERS / Dane Rhys / File Photo

The world’s seven largest advanced economies agreed on Friday to halt international funding for carbon-emitting coal projects by the end of this year, and phase out such support for all fossil fuels, in order to achieve globally agreed climate change targets.

Stopping fossil fuel funding is seen as a major step the world can take to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, which scientists say would prevent the most devastating effects of climate change.

Getting Japan to end international funding for coal projects in such a short period of time means those countries, like China, which still support coal are increasingly isolated and may face more pressure to stop.

In a statement, which Reuters saw and reported earlier, the Group of Seven nations – the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – as well as European Union said that “unrelenting international investment in coal must end now”.

“(We) commit to taking concrete steps to bring an absolute end to the government’s new direct support for relentless international generation of thermal coal-fired electricity by the end of 2021, including through the official development assistance, export finance, investment and financial support and trade promotion. “

Coal is considered unchanged when it is burned to produce electricity or heat without using the technology to capture the resulting emissions, a system that is not yet widely used in power generation.

Alok Sharma, chair of the COP26 climate summit, has made halting international coal funding a “personal priority” to help end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels, calling for this to happen. that the United Nations summit in November be the one “that will put coal back into history”.

He called on China to define its “short-term policies which will then help achieve longer-term goals and the entire Chinese system must achieve what President Xi Jinping has defined as its political goals.”

BE MORE SPECIFIC, SAY GREEN GROUPS

The G7 countries also agreed to “work with other global partners to accelerate the deployment of zero emission vehicles”, “massively” decarbonizing the electricity sector in the 2030s and abandoning international fossil fuel financing, although that no precise date has been given for this objective. .

They reiterated their commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit temperature rise as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times and to the climate finance target. developed countries to mobilize $ 100 billion per year by 2020 until 2025.

US climate envoy John Kerry urged countries in the Group of the 20 largest economies in the world to align with these measures. Read more

But some Green groups have said while welcoming the milestones, the G7 needs to set a stricter timeline.

Rebecca Newsom, Policy Officer at Greenpeace UK, said: “Too many of these commitments remain vague when we need them to be specific and include planned actions.”

In a report released earlier this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued its strongest warning yet, saying investors should not fund new oil, gas and gas supply projects. and coal if the world is to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century.

The number of countries that have committed to reaching net zero has increased, but even if their commitments are fully met, there will still be 22 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in the world in 2050, which would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide. temperature of about 2.1 ° C by 2100, the IEA said in its report “Net Zero by 2050”.

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