28.2 C
Friday, May 24, 2024

‘Commitment inadequate, lacks urgency’ – More reactions trail G7 coal power phase out plan

The commitment to phase out unabated coal in the first half of the 2030s is not only inadequate but also exhibits an abject lack of urgency.

G7 Italy
G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers in Italy

This submission was made by environment watchdog, Climate Action Network (CAN), in response to the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ joint communique, published on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in respect of which the group says that “new tangible, measurable commitments are few and far between”.

According to CAN, keeping the 1.5C warming limit within reach requires coal to be phased out completely in G7 countries (and other Annex 2 and OECD countries) no later than 2030, adding that “the hollow cover of abatement used by the G7 undermines the impact of commitments to end financial support for coal-based power.”

The group notes: “Even more disheartening is the section on transitioning away from fossil fuels, which instead of detailing clear plans and pathways to reducing oil and gas dependence, rests on abstract intent and dangerous, unproven technologies such as CCUS, nuclear power and fusion technology.

“It is now widely recognised that the scale of climate ambition is linked to the availability and access to finance, especially low-cost, low-risk finance. Although ministers have stressed on the importance of public, grant-based and concessional finance as a “crucial dimension” in supporting developing countries, the communique contains little information on how G7 countries plan to act on this acknowledgement.

“Instead, the communique is much clearer in its intent to significantly increase the use of blended finance and to mobilise private finance for clean energy development in developing countries, presumably at higher costs and risks of chronic indebtedness than grant based and concessional public finance.

“On adaptation, the G7 ministers have reaffirmed the commitment to doubling adaptation finance. Although ministers have agreed to prepare a report on the target, the communique remains silent on the inadequacy of this target and provides no roadmap for reaching this goal. On the positive side however, commitments also include the launch of a ‘G7 Adaptation Accelerator Hub’ to foster partnerships toward adaptation action in developing countries.

“Where the G7 ministers have succeeded in covering a wide scope of subjects, they have also provided little in terms of progressive action towards equitable and fair climate action. The communique, as much as it acknowledges the urgency of scaling up ambition and climate action, seeks to shift responsibility out of the purview of the G7 and the larger developed world.”

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network, said: “The G7 has shown yet again a remarkable lack of ambition with regards to the provision of funding for developing countries to address the climate crisis. This group of rich nations easily finds the money to support wars and the fossil fuel industry but can never seem to find the funding to address the debt they owe for the climate crisis. The G7 needs to pay up and stop funding the wrong things.”

Avantika Goswami, Programme Manager, Climate Change, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India, said: “The G7 countries – alone – are responsible for close to half – 42% – of carbon dioxide emitted since 1900, and 39% of fossil fuel consumption since 1965. As historical polluters, it is unacceptable that they are dragging their heels on phasing out the use of coal with a clear and urgent timeline. These countries also continue to heavily depend on oil and natural gas, despite possessing the resources to rapidly decarbonise their energy systems. This eats into the carbon space that developing countries ought to have access to as they improve prosperity and meet their developmental goals and puts us on a path of planetary devastation.

“Moreover, the focus on ‘unabated’ coal power dilutes the G7’s commitment further since it creates a loophole for unreliable technologies like carbon capture and storage that have thus far proved unsuccessful at capturing emissions at scale.”

Nithi Nesadurai, Director and Regional Coordinator, Climate Action Network Southeast Asia, said: “The commitment by G7 countries to only phase out unabated coal in the first half of 2030s is woefully inadequate. It indicates a lack of leadership and lack of urgency in addressing climate change. The decision against phasing out coal sooner places those in developing countries working on transitioning away from coal in a just manner at a disadvantage. We will now be faced with this question: If the world’s richest countries are not serious about phasing out coal sooner, why should we adopt more ambitious coal phase out dates.”

Tracy Carty, Global Climate Politics Expert, Greenpeace International, said: “The commitment to phase out coal is simply too little, too late. If they are serious and aligned with what the science says is needed to keep 1.5° within reach, G7 countries must ditch this dinosaur planet-wrecking fuel no later than 2030. And the climate emergency demands they just don’t stop at coal. Fossil fuels are destroying people and the planet and a commitment to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – is urgently needed.

“Faced with climate catastrophe, the G7’s persistent endorsement of fossil gas is alarming. Fossil gas is not needed, not cheap and is certainly not a ‘bridge fuel’ to a safe climate. The biggest fossil fuel threat today by wealthy nations is coming from the rapidly expanding LNG industry. An urgent shift is needed towards less, not more, gas – and massively expanded renewables.”

Andreas Sieber, 350.org Associate Director of Global Campaigns, said: “The G7’s agreement to phase out domestic coal power in the first half of the 2030s is a hint of progress but leaves room for the more urgent phase out the climate crisis demands. To meet the Paris Agreement target G7 countries must phase out coal well before 2030 and continue to push for the G7 to commit to phase out all fossil fuels including oil, gas, and reject the adoption of dangerous technologies like nuclear.

“It is imperative that the world’s largest economies support the global renewable energy transition by providing finance at scale, particularly for the Global South, and urgently pull out of funding fossil fuels both at home and abroad.”

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Global Climate and Energy Lead, WWF, said: “This G7 pledge is an important signal that major economies are starting to get serious about the most polluting forms of energy. But if we are to progress toward the security and prosperity that a 100% renewable power generation system can bring, then these countries will need to phase out all coal by 2030. They must also make similar commitments to phase out oil and gas well before 2050. G7 countries have the opportunity to lead the world in setting the pace for climate action. They have the power to advance the energy sector transformation at the scale and pace needed to keep warming to 1.5°C. They must do better.”

Caroline Brouillette, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada, said: “G7 Ministers – from the countries most responsible for the climate crisis – have started to consider what the Global Stocktake means for them domestically, but they have done so haphazardly. As the world’s largest historical polluters and producers of fossil fuels, they must reckon with the fact that limiting warming to 1.5°C requires a coal phase-out before 2030 and set timelines for a just transition away from oil and gas as well. Instead, their confusion on the role of public investments in gas undermines COP28’s signal on the energy transition.

“While the environment ministers recognize that trillions must be mobilized to meet the Paris Agreement goals, leaders and finance ministers must now put real money on the table towards a new finance goal to make a just transition a reality.

“The G7 Ministers’ communiqué is still some distance from what is required to keep the 1.5°C within reach. Canada will take over the G7 Presidency next year, exactly halfway through the critical decade. It must play a leadership role and steer G7 countries to ramp up efforts on transitioning away from fossil fuels in their NDCs, ending fossil fuel subsidies, meeting biodiversity finance commitments and increasing support for adaptation and loss and damage at home and abroad.”

Evan Gach, Node Coordinator, Climate Action Network Japan, said: “Setting a fundamental timeline for the phase-out of coal-fired power in-line with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal is a big step forward for the G7, and a strong signal to the world that we must significantly accelerate our exit from coal in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“However, the science has consistently pointed out that meeting the Paris goals requires the G7 countries to phase-out coal-fired power by 2030 at the latest. It is up to the G7 to play a leadership role and take serious and concrete steps to phase-out their domestic coal-fired power plants in a timeline consistent with the Paris Agreement goals, as well as supporting a global coal exit abroad.

“This starts with a commitment to acknowledge 1.5°C-consistent pathways and retire all domestic coal plants by 2030. It also means developing concrete roadmaps and implementing policy measures to ensure a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, ending plans to extend the life of coal power with unproven and ineffective technologies like hydrogen/ammonia co-firing, and providing adequate finance, technical assistance, and other forms of support for countries to accelerate their own transition away from fossil fuels.”

Candy Ofime, Amnesty International’s Climate Justice Researcher, said: “This is not the goal for coal we need, and it will not deliver climate justice. Commitments put forward by G7 members – which have burnt coal for power for more than a century – to stop using this pollutant by 2035 are simply too late and weakened by unacceptable caveats. The end of coal power generation cannot come soon enough for those experiencing the worst effects of the climate crisis.

“Coal is one of the dirtiest energy sources and its burning has immense health impacts, particularly in lower income countries and among marginalised, often racialised, frontline communities globally. Protection of human rights requires an urgent, full, fair and funded phase out of all fossil fuels. A just and equitable phase out means ending financing for coal production and coal energy everywhere. The rights of workers in the coal industry must be protected during this transition.

“There appears to be no curb in this deal on the use of coal for steel production, which accounts for about 30% of coal consumption, and the commitment to phase out just so-called ‘unabated’ coal is misleading. Abatement relies on the use of carbon capture and storage, and other technologies such as ammonia and hydrogen co-firing with coal, which are unproven at scale and can come with other risks. Coal pollution cannot be adequately abated, and harms health and the climate whenever it is used.

“This deal must not encourage an uptake of so-called natural gas, which is mostly methane, as an energy alternative. Its exploitation is increasingly associated with releases of this hugely potent greenhouse gas, which is a major contributor to global warming. As the world’s highest income countries, and among those most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, G7 states have the greatest responsibility to help lower income states to move away from all fossil fuels.”

Leave a Reply

Latest news

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you