G7 ‘climate club’ to tackle global warming amid criticism over fossil fuel ‘loophole’

In issuing their final communiqué, the G7 leaders announced that a “climate club” would be launched by the end of the year with the aim of accelerating efforts to combat global warming.
Civil society groups have said they want to see more ambition, criticizing the fossil fuel provisions in the final communiqué.

A key commitment on ending fossil fuel financing overseas has been watered down.

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After the three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps, the G7 countries agreed to allow public investment in new international fossil fuel projects under certain conditions.
The statement came despite leaders reaffirming their goal of reducing dependence on dirty fossil fuels and accelerating the green energy transition.

German chancellor and summit host Olaf Scholz “promised a crucial boost for international climate action and he failed to deliver,” said Friederike Roder, vice president of the nonprofit organization. GlobalCitizen.

German Chancellor and summit host Olaf Scholz stands on a podium with the flags of the G7 member countries behind him.

German chancellor and summit host Olaf Scholz spearheaded the proposal for a “climate club”. Source: AAP / Clement Bilan

An alliance of civil society organisations, including Oil Change International, also delivered a scathing verdict, condemning the gas “loopholes” in the final statement.

The text recalls that the G7 countries will always stop new public investments in fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022.
But given the “exceptional circumstances” of the war in Ukraine, “state-backed investments in the gas sector may be appropriate as a temporary response”.
Observers said Germany and Italy, heavily dependent on Russian energy, pushed hard for the amended text.

Like other European countries, they are rushing to stockpile gas ahead of winter and diversify their suppliers as they prepare for Russia to completely shut off the energy taps after recently slowing deliveries.

‘Emergency’

Germany has already decided to reactivate mothballed coal-fired power stations to offset the Russian deficit and is considering a new gas project in Senegal.
Pressed by reporters about the fossil fuel relapse, Scholz stressed that the latest measures were temporary and would not derail Germany’s climate goals or slow its transition to renewable energy.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi acknowledged the “concern” of a return to dirty fossil fuels.

“We don’t want to go back on our commitments,” he told a press conference.

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“Even if we access new sources of gas supply, these replace Russian sources. We are not increasing long-term gas supply,” he said, describing the current energy upheaval. as “an emergency”.
All G7 leaders reaffirmed the Paris Pact commitment to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
They also reiterated their commitment to largely decarbonize their power sectors by 2035.
Among the few new promises in the final communiqué is the commitment to “a highly carbon-free road sector by 2030”.
The announcement of climate partnerships with emerging countries like India, Indonesia and Vietnam to help them finance their clean energy transition has been welcomed by campaigners.

The partnerships “can have transformative potential”, said the NGO Germanwatch.

“Climate Club”

US President Joe Biden and his counterparts also agreed to create an international “climate club”, Scholz’s flagship proposal at the summit.
Strongly focused on the industrial sector, the club’s aim is to coordinate climate action while avoiding competitive disadvantages, for example by sharing technology or agreeing on common standards on carbon or hydrogen pricing. green.

But some critics said the idea remained vague.

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G7 leaders pledged to “step up” efforts to mobilize climate finance for poor countries, many of which are already feeling the catastrophic effects of extreme heat waves, droughts and floods.
A long-standing goal of spending $100 billion a year from 2020 to help vulnerable countries adapt to climate change has not been met, however.
Environmental activists said the G7 did little to build momentum at the UN’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt in November.

“Chancellor Scholz has failed to mobilize new climate commitments from G7 leaders, leaving them with a huge void to fill over the next four months to gain credibility at COP27,” he said. said Alex Scott of climate think tank E3G.

Teresa H. Sadler