(London) The G7 nations pledged on Friday to end public aid to coal plants this year, in a “strong gesture” to intensify their efforts to curb global warming.
Three weeks after the G7 summit in England and six months after the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the environment ministers of Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom pledged to “make ambitious and accelerated efforts” to reduce carbon dioxide emissions2.
The risk of an uncontrollable crisis
The goal is to limit the increase in temperatures below 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era, a threshold beyond which scientists believe climate change will spiral out of control.
But this will require “significant actions on the part of all countries, especially the major emitting economies,” as the G7 acknowledged in their press release.
To move in this direction, industrial powers are primarily attacking coal, the “main cause of warming temperatures”: “A recognition that continued global investment in electricity production from coal does not correspond to the 1.5 ° C target. We insist that international investment in coal has changed.” The scalper must stop now. ”
So these countries are promising “concrete measures towards the absolute end of new direct public aid for coal-fired electricity generation by the end of 2021.”
For German Environment Minister Svenia Schulz, this is “an important step forward, because only in this way can we industrialized nations demand the credibility of others to follow us. In this way.”
“It is a very strong signal to the world that coal is the energy of the past and that it has no place in our energy mix,” Barbara Pompelli, the French Minister for Environmental Transition, told the Guardian. “It was a very difficult decision, especially for Japan.”
“The last hope”
COP26 President Alok Sharma also welcomed “a clear signal to the planet that coal is threatened with extinction”, calling it “a major step towards a zero-emissions economy.”
This summit, which was scheduled to take place in November 2020, which will bring together the leaders of 196 countries, as well as companies and experts, was postponed last year due to COVID-19.
But British authorities confirmed in mid-May that they wanted to confront it in November, and Alok Sharma presented the event as “the last hope” to keep warming temperatures below 1.5 ° C.
He then warned that “science shows that an increase of two degrees could mean that hundreds of millions of people will be affected, and that twice the number of plant species and three times the number of insect species will lose large areas of their habitat.”
According to the United Nations, emissions would have to decrease by roughly 8% annually so that the overall increase of 1.5 ° C stipulated in the Paris Agreement, which will equate to saving each year through 2030, does not exceed the same amount of emissions as during the pandemic.
Apart from coal, the G7 countries have agreed to “significantly accelerate” their efforts to phase out hydrocarbons for transportation in the next decade.
They promise to act as “champions” of diversity by preserving or protecting at least 30% of the planet’s land and 30% of the oceans to stem losses in terms of diversity.
Now surrendered to new oil projects
This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimated that the world must “now” abandon any new oil or gas project, other than those already approved, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and have a chance to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C.
The British branch of Greenpeace environmental organization welcomed the announced actions on coal: “This leaves China isolated in the international arena, funded by the most polluting energy sources.”
“Unfortunately, many of the commitments made remain ambiguous when we need to be precise and with a timeline,” the organization lamented.
The G7 press release marks a “turning point,” said Alden Mayer, head of the E3G Research Center. “But there is still a long way to go to fulfill these promises, whether through more ambitious national policies and substantially increasing the resources needed to enable a shift away from fossil fuels in developing countries.”