G7 commits to phasing out coal by mid 2030s - but environmental groups aren't happy

G7 commits to phasing out coal by mid 2030s - but environmental groups aren't happy

G7 countries have agreed to phase out coal power during the first half of the 2030s.

The Environment, Energy and Climate G7 meeting concluded on Tuesday at the Palace of Venaria in Turin.

The focus of the summit was green transformation and addressing climate change, pollution, the energy crisis and biodiversity loss.

In a statement issued at the end of the two-day conference, the G7 countries said they have jointly agreed to "phase out existing unabated coal power generation in our energy systems during the first half of 2030s or in a timeline consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5C temperature rise within reach".

"The transition to clean energy must be tidy," said the Japanese Minister of Economy Ken Saito. "From this point of view we reached a balanced agreement."

This marks the first time the G7 has explicitly referenced a phase-out, but the agreement leaves flexibility for countries heavily reliant on coal.

Environmental campaigners say the commitment falls short

The communique puts a timeline to countries' commitments made at the COP28 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,’’ Italy’s environment and energy security minister, Gilberto Picchetto Fratin, told a news conference.

Environmental campaigners said the commitment fell short of the goal of decarbonising power sectors in the G7 nations by 2035, recommended by both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA), 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.