This year, the summit of the Group of Seven (G7) It was the first of a series of important multilateral frameworks on the diplomatic calendar. This group is made up of the Heads of State of US state, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the European Union.
It largely precedes and sets the tone for the subsequent Group of 20 (G20) meeting and other key climate-focused diplomatic engagements that will take place later in the year, such as COP28.
This meeting represents a key point in the efforts to address the climate crisis, defining priorities and action points for the coming year.
They included some significant results in relation to the climate crisis. These have potentially far-reaching implications that could help accelerate action to decarbonise global economies and limit warming to 1.5°C, under the Paris Agreement.
The G7 leaders also agreed on specific measures to protect nature and biodiversity and improve circularity to minimize human impact on our planet.
What was agreed at the G7?
1. More certainty on the phasing out of fossil fuels:
The G7 leaders stated: “We underline our commitment, in the context of a global effort, to accelerate the phase-out of non-renewable fossil fuels to achieve net-zero energy in energy systems by 2050, in line with the trajectories needed to limit the temperature global average to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, and we call on others to join us in doing the same.”
The Heads of State’s statement represents a significant increase in ambition for the phasing out of unused fossil fuels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) defines it as those “produced and used without interventions that substantially reduce the amount of GHG issued throughout their life cycle; For example, capturing the 90% or more of the power plants, or the 50-80% of methane tailpipe emissions from energy supply”. So this latest wording of the G7 effectively rules out any power generation that does not use carbon capture technology to eradicate the vast majority of emissions produced during the generation process.
However, it is criticized that the G7 has not gone far enough in phasing out fossil fuels. The statement refers to the global impact of the Russian war on energy supplies and the role leaders continue to give to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as they aim to reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies.
The leaders also did not commit to achieving an energy sector “completely” decarbonized by 2035, contrary to expectations, opting to maintain the articulated commitment in 2022 to achieve a “totally or predominantly” decarbonized energy sector by 2035.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the G7 represents the 40% of the world economy, the 36% of the world’s electricity generation capacity, the 30% of global energy demand and the 25% of global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. These commitments, therefore, while falling short of some expectations, continue to represent an important step forward in the global ambition to phase out these fuels.
2. Greater commitment to renewable energy:
What the G7 leaders said: “We also need to significantly accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and the development and deployment of next generation technologies. The G7 contribute to the expansion of renewable energy globally and lower costs by strengthening capacity, including through a collective increase in offshore wind capacity of 150 GW by 2030, based on the targets of each country, and a collective increase of solar PV to more than 1 TW by 2030.”
This commitment represents a major step and will bring the G7 in line with analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), whose Global Energy Transition Outlook 2023 concluded that current global renewable energy deployment rates are insufficient to maintain the target of 1.5 °C.
The G7 climate, energy and environment ministers, who met a month earlier and agreed to speed up the deployment of “hydroelectric, geothermal, sustainable biomass, biomethane and tidal energy using modern technologies.”
They also committed to accelerate the development and deployment of other innovative technologies for energy production, such as wave, wind and floating marine, as well as the general flexibility and reliability of the network, through energy storage techniques for the renewable production dependent on weather conditions.
Alongside these commitments to renewable energy production, the G7 leaders also made clear their agreement to improve supply chains for critical minerals and materials.
Demand for rare earth elements is expected to grow between a 400% and a 600% in the coming decades to supply technologies that will be critical to a net-zero economy, such as batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage.
3. End plastic pollution:
Beyond the potential dangers they pose to the marine and terrestrial environments, as well as to humans, plastics also contribute substantially to global GHG emissions.
In 2019, plastics generated 1.8 billion tons of GHG emissions -he 3.4% of global emissions-and the 90% of these emissions come from their production and conversion from fossil fuels. Estimates indicate that GHG emissions from plastics could reach around 13% of all remaining carbon budget in 2050.
Germany, France, Canada, Great Britain and the European Union are already part of a multinational coalition that made the same commitment last year, but this is the first time that the remaining members of the Group of Seven – Japan, the United States and Italy – assume the commitment of 2040.
The G7 ministers stressed that They have committed to ending plastic pollution, with the ambition to reduce additional plastic pollution to zero by 2040.. This was not without concern to some organizations, which highlighted the specific reference to only “reduce additional plastic pollution.”
The Global Alliance for Action on Plastics (GPAP) is the World Economic Forum’s platform for translating commitments on plastic pollution into concrete action.
Finally, GPAP uses its convening power to bring together stakeholders from governments, businesses and civil society to drive the transition towards a circular plastics economy at global, regional and national levels.
Ricardo is a renowned author and journalist, known for his exceptional writing on top-news stories. He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he is known for his ability to deliver breaking news and insightful analysis on the most pressing issues of the day.