G7 sets targets for renewables generation

Fossil fuel investment remains on the horizon for the G7 group of nations for the foreseeable future after a meeting in Japan saw it swerve a 2030 deadline for phasing out of coal.

The G7 also sanctioned continued investment in gas, saying that sector could help address potential energy shortfalls .

However, the meeting did see the setting of ambitious collective targets for solar power and offshore wind capacity, agreeing to speed up renewable energy development and move toward a quicker phase-out of fossil fuels.

In their communique, the members pledged to collectively increase offshore wind capacity by 150 gigawatts by 2030 and solar capacity to more than 1 terawatt.

They agreed to accelerate “the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels” – the burning of fossil fuels without using technology to capture the resulting C02 emissions – to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050 at the latest.

On coal, the countries agreed to prioritise “concrete and timely steps” towards accelerating the phase-out of “domestic, unabated coal power generation”, as a part of a commitment last year to achieve at least a “predominantly” decarbonised power sector by 2035.

“In the midst of an unprecedented energy crisis, it’s important to come up with measures to tackle climate change and promote energy security at the same time,” Japanese industry minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told a news conference.

“While acknowledging that there are diverse pathways to achieve carbon neutral, we agreed on the importance of aiming for a common goal toward 2050,” he said.

G7 ministers finished two days of meetings on climate, energy and environmental policy in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo on Sunday. Renewable fuel sources and energy security have taken on a new urgency following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Initially people thought that climate action and action on energy security potentially were in conflict. But discussions which we had and which are reflected in the communique are that they actually work together,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of natural resources.