G7 to push for global fossil fuel phaseout deal
G7 to push for global fossil fuel phaseout deal


A commitment from the Group of Seven wealthy countries to phase out fossil fuels faster has been welcomed as a potential step towards a global deal for all countries to do the same, but is facing criticism for not matching the pledge with firm action.

G7 countries’ climate ministers on Sunday agreed – for the first time – to speed up their phaseout of fossil fuel consumption causing climate change, although they did not set a firm date for doing this. In a joint statement at their meeting in Sapporo, Japan, the ministers agreed “to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels so as to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050 at the latest.”

“If you could get a consensus decision that this is the direction of travel, that would be huge,” Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate think-tank E3G, told Reuters. But Meyer, who has attended UN climate negotiations since they began in 1991, warned of significant hurdles to clinching the pledge.

Insufficient financial support from wealthy countries to help developing countries switch to clean energy could also weaken the G7’s leverage in bringing other countries on board with a commitment to eventually quit oil and gas.

The need to back the fossil fuel phaseout pledge with cash was echoed by Gillian Nelson, policy director at the non-profit We Mean Business coalition, which works with companies and investors on climate action.

Nelson said G7 governments spent roughly $33 billion a year on fossil fuel subsidies that could be redirected to help unleash private cash for clean energy.

Stepping stones that could be used to build momentum for a fossil fuel commitment ahead of COP28 include a June summit hosted by France, aimed at scaling up finance for developing countries, and a September G20 leaders meeting hosted by India – author of the proposal at last year’s climate summit to phase down fossil fuels.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th, 2023.

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