G7 promises end to fossil fuels

The G7 group of leaders meeting in Germany vowed to decarbonise the economy. (Photo: Bundesregierung)

The G7 group of leaders meeting in Germany vowed to decarbonise the economy. (Photo: Bundesregierung)

By Courtney Pearson

June 25, 2015

THE G7 group of leaders has committed to stop the consumption of fossil fuels by the end of the century through a long-term strategy to decarbonise the global economy.

In a meeting in Germany the group, comprising leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, agreed to a global emissions reduction target of between 40 per cent and 70 per cent by 2050. They also agreed to improve their respective energy sectors by the same year.

“We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term, including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050, and invite all countries to join us in this endeavor,” the G7 Leaders’ declaration stated.

The group agreed that in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, carbon emissions needed to be limited to 1 trillion tonnes.

The declaration called for ambitious results in the Paris agreement – a new international climate change agreement that will cover all countries – which will be determined at the UN’s Climate Change Conference in Paris this December.

“The agreement should enhance transparency and accountability including through binding rules at its core to track progress towards achieving targets, which should promote increased ambition over time,” the leaders stated.

Furthermore, the G7 group of leaders said it would introduce initiatives to support renewable energy in developing countries such as Africa, to reduce energy poverty and mobilise financial resources by 2020.

WWF Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith said first world countries needed to help developing countries contribute to the global climate change target.

“Developing countries are ready to move fast and far on renewables, but they need finance and technology from rich countries to do it,” she said.

“We need to see more of these concrete commitments for immediate action. We also want to see them shifting investment towards low-carbon technologies in their own countries.”

The group agreed to continue to phase out fossil fuel subsidies and align export credits would with climate objectives.

According to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), fossil fuel subsidies provide an incentive of US$115 per tonne of carbon dioxide.

In comparison, it costs about US$7/t for emission credits in carbon markets.

About 11 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions are from areas that operate a carbon market, while 13 per cent of energy-related emissions are from markets with fossil fuel subsidies.