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Highlights of Group of Seven (G7) Summit

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April 20, 2023

Why in news?

G7 sets renewables target, however, no timeline for fossil fuel phase out.

What are the key proposals of the meeting?

  • Energy transition - G7 collectively decided to increase offshore wind capacity by 150 gigawatts and add solar capacity of over 1 terawatt.
  • Fossils fuels - To ‘accelerate the phase out of’ unabated fossil fuels but failed to share a timeline for the phase out, including for unabated domestic coal.
  • To ‘fully or predominantly’ decarbonise power sector by 2035.
  • To eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 or sooner.
  • Critical minerals - To resolve vulnerabilities and diversify the source of these critical minerals.
  • Climate finance - Committed to work on the decisions agreed upon at COP27 to establish new funding arrangements, including a fund to assist developing countries.
  • To accelerate efforts for financing adaptation.
  • Carbon markets - ‘Principles of High-Integrity Carbon Markets’ have been proposed to ensure high-integrity carbon markets.
  • Industrial decarbonisation - Recognised the risk of carbon leakage, where companies simply move their operations to countries with less stringent climate policies.
  • Pledge to end new plastic pollution by 2040.

Why the meeting is not constructive?

  • Fossil Fuels – While G7 ministers recognised the need to scale up renewable energy, their commitment to phase out of fossil fuels is frivolous and full of loopholes.
  • Rich countries – They are shirking their responsibility to provide adequate finance to help poorer nations adapt to and recover from the losses and damages caused by climate disasters.
  • The energy-transition ambition is not equally shared among the members.
  • Japan – It has been an outlier because of its reluctance to phase out fossil fuels and instead rely on carbon capture and the use of hydrogen in promoting low-carbon technologies.
  • Canada – While Canada pushed for stronger language on coal phase-out, the statement on fossil fuels was watered down due to Japan’s opposition.
  • Overall, the commitments made on energy transitions, with targets being set for solar and wind capacity additions are more than what was initially expected.
  • However, this may not be enough to keep the 1.5 degrees Celsius target achievable.

What are the challenges in phasing out fossil fuels?

  • The past commitments to energy transition were not achieved.
  • No timeline to eliminate the phase out of fossil fuels.
  • Lack of consensus in deciding the alternate energy.
  • Loopholes in policy measures to phase out fossil fuels.
  • The energy-transition ambition is not equally shared among the members.
  • Geopolitical concerns for critical mineral extraction from poor countries.
  • Lack of comprehensive action plan on carbon leakage.
  • Low-carbon technologies and renewable hydrogen were not given due importance.

 

References

  1. Down To Earth│G7’s Meetings
  2. The Indian Express │G7 Climate and Environment Ministers’ meet concludes
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