G7 nations commit to phasing out coal by 2035 but give Japan some flexibility – Metro US

G7 nations commit to phasing out coal by 2035 but give Japan some flexibility

Italy G7 Climate
Italy’s Environment and Energy Security Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin talks during the G7 Climate, energy and environment press conference at Venaria Reale in Turin, Italy, Tuesday April 30, 2024. (Alberto Gandolfo/LaPresse via AP)

MILAN (AP) — Energy and environment ministers of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations committed Tuesday to phase out coal power by 2035, marking the first time the G7 has explicitly referenced a phase-out, but left flexibility for countries heavily reliant on coal.

The final communique of the meeting in the Italian city of Turin included language that could extend the 2035 deadline to a “timeframe consistent with limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius” above pre-industrialized levels.

Italy’s environment and energy security minister, Gilberto Picchetto Fratin, emphasized the significance of targeting coal, “the source of most emissions.”

The communique puts a timeline to countries’ commitments made at the COP 28 conference last year in Dubai, which called for accelerating the phase-down of so-called unabated coal power, where emissions have not been captured.

“This is the first time that a pathway and a goal has been indicated,’’ Picchetto Fratin told a news conference.

Environmental campaigners said the commitment fell short of the goal of decarbonizing power sectors in the G7 nations by 2035, recommended by both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency, which would require phasing out coal by 2030 and gas power by 2035.

The Beyond Fossils Fuel campaign called the coal power phase-out commitment vague, “likely in a bid to coax a coal exit commitment from Japan.”

Japan is the only G7 country without a coal phase-out date. Britain, France, Italy and Canada are committed to phasing out coal no later than 2030, while the United States and Germany “are taking major steps toward this date,’’ said Pieter de Pous, program lead at E3G’s Coal to Clean program.

“G7 ministers need to lead by example and align their commitments with reality and the urgency of the climate crisis,” said Claire Smith with Beyond Fossil Fuels.