G7 agreement to close coal-fired power plants without carbon capture by 2035

(Turin) The G7 countries meeting in Italy decided on Tuesday to gradually phase out coal-fired power plants without carbon capture devices by 2035, an important step towards ending the use of fossil fuels.

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and environmental activists had urged the G7 – which includes Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US -to lead by example.


Italian Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin (left) Japanese Economy Minister Ken Saito (center) and Japanese Environment Minister Tetsuya Yagi.

The G7 therefore agreed to “gradually phase out current coal-fired electricity production in (its) energy systems during the first half of the 2030s,” the member countries announced in a press release, following a meeting of its Ministers of the Environment and Energy in Turin.

Some room for maneuver has been left open, since countries will be able to follow “a timetable compatible with maintaining a temperature increase limit of 1.5°C, in accordance with carbon neutrality trajectories”.

In addition, coal-fired electricity can be maintained if its emissions are captured or limited by technology, a loophole criticized by environmental advocates.

Some countries like France were campaigning for the G7 to abandon coal by 2030, but Japan in particular, where a third of its electricity comes from coal, was reluctant to set a deadline.

“It is a strong commitment, a strong signal from the G7,” French Minister Franck Riester, who represented France in Turin on climate issues, commented to AFP.

For Luca Bergamaschi, of the climate think tank ECCO, the G7 took “a decisive step forward” to translate the Dubai agreement into national legislation.

On the other hand, Andreas Sieber, of the climate defense organization 350.org, judged this “important progress, but insufficient”, while the Institute for Climate Analysis estimated that “2035 is too late”, judging “notable that gas was not mentioned”, despite being the largest source of the global increase in CO emissions2 over the last decade.

The meeting was the first major political meeting on climate since COP28, held last December in Dubai, where the world pledged to gradually move away from coal, gas and oil.

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The G7 countries also said on Tuesday that they “aspire” to reduce global plastic production in order to tackle head-on the global pollution caused by this material, present everywhere in the environment, from the tops of mountains to the bottom of the oceans. , as well as in the blood of human beings.

A vague commitment which comes after the penultimate phase of negotiations to arrive at a global treaty to combat plastic pollution, which concluded Tuesday in Ottawa with the prospect of an agreement by the end of the year, but without a ceiling for polymer production.

Ministers also said efforts to raise funds to help poorer countries fight climate change should include all “countries able to contribute”.

Under a 1992 UN climate convention, only a small handful of high-income countries, which dominated the global economy at the time, committed to funding the fight against global warming. This did not include China, which has now become the country with the highest greenhouse gas emissions.

“By clearly saying that we are calling on other countries to contribute, we want China to join us in this direction,” Franck Riester told AFP.

Climate activists are calling for more help for developing countries to decarbonize their industrial production, particularly the steel and cement sectors.

In Dubai, countries agreed to triple global renewable energy capacity and move away from fossil fuels, but financing this transition poses a problem, particularly for the poorest countries.

On Monday, at the opening of the Turin meeting, UN Climate chief Simon Stiell urged G7 countries to use their political weight, wealth and technology to move away from fossil fuels, in particular by putting pressure on their financial counterparts to achieve a “leap forward”.

Together, the G7 countries represent 38% of the global economy and are responsible for 21% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to figures for 2021 from the Institute for Climate Analysis.

reference: www.lapresse.ca

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