The G7 wealthy democracies have failed to agree on a timeline to end their use of coal for electrical power, an EU official said on Sunday, June 13, 2021 – leaving them without a firm commitment on a key climate issue at their annual summit.
The U.K. hosts, backed by the EU, had pushed for a promise to “phase out” coal in the 2030s, the official said. But as leaders sat down on Sunday morning to discuss climate policy, the draft communiqué only contained an open-ended vow to “accelerate” the demise of the carbon-intensive fuel.
Without a specific timeframe, the final language would be weaker than a commitment G7 environment ministers made in May.
“It was a discussion – a difficult one,” because not all G7 members are able to commit to a date at this point, the EU official said, without naming the holdouts.
“An overwhelming majority could have lived with the commitment in the 2030s, but some were not able because the challenge would be too high in terms of energy supply in that country,” he added.
A spokesperson for U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Obviously it’s down to individual countries to decide their energy mix, but we continue to work with them to emphasise that renewable energy is the way forward.”
Johnson wants to use the U.K.-hosted COP26 U.N. climate talks in November to lay out a plan on ending coal power.