April 18, 2023

G7 ministers set new targets for renewable energy but leave the door open for false climate solutions

Sapporo, Japan – The G7 Sapporo Ministerial Conference on Environment, Energy and Climate saw the world’s 7 richest nations set new targets for renewable energy development but refuse to close the door on fossil gas and false climate solutions.

Acknowledging the environmental destruction caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other factors, G7 ministers stressed their willingness to increase measures to achieve the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement during “this critically important decade.”

However, no progress was made on “full or partial decarbonization of the power sector by 2035,” following last year’s agreement. It is believed that Japan, this year’s G7 chair, pushed back heavily on the inclusion of a deadline for the phase out of coal-fired power generation.

Leaving room for continued investment in fossil gas, as well as the inclusion of other false solutions such as hydrogen and ammonia in the power generation sector, is also a concern. These false solutions simply act as a life extension for the climate-destroying fossil fuel industry and will lock us further into a reliance on fossil fuels and increasing energy insecurity.

Without a clear roadmap to phase out all fossil fuels, including coal, climate disasters will intensify, and developing countries and vulnerable populations will continue to suffer the fallout of bad decisions from richer nations. Continued dependence on wildly fluctuating prices of fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear power will threaten livelihoods, and continued purchase of fossil fuels from Russia will impede peace in Ukraine.

The G7 leaders, and particularly G7 chair Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, must go beyond the agreement of this Sapporo Ministerial Meeting at the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May and reject false climate solutions, putting forward a clear roadmap to fossil fuel phase-out and a just transition to 100% sustainable and renewable energy.

Norly Mercado, 350.org Asia Regional Director says,

“The increased targets for renewable energy are a welcome result, but tainted by the lack of a clear pathway to transition away from fossil fuels. Japan’s refusal to phase out coal by 2030 is a betrayal, not only of their role as G7 president, but of their fellow Asian countries and communities that have already lost livelihoods and lives to forced evictions and climate disasters. Japan cannot simply fund energy transition deals with one hand and export outdated fossil fuel technology with the other. If the G7 president looks to play a pivotal role in the shift to clean energy forms in Asia, they must stop financing all fossil fuels in Asia and elsewhere.”

Chuck Baclagon, 350.org Asia Finance Campaigner says,

“We appreciate the call for urgent action in the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué, but we need to prioritise low-carbon development with people, the environment, and justice in mind. This means avoiding expensive and harmful options like nuclear power, waste-to-energy, hydrogen, ammonia, and geoengineering. The climate crisis needs urgent and ambitious action, including assessing the social and employment impacts of climate policies and providing social protections for affected sectors. We need stimulus to start the transition to a world that doesn’t rely on quick fixes with technology.”

Masayoshi Iyoda, 350.org Japan Team Lead says,

“The G7 agreement on numerical targets for the introduction of solar and wind power as a means to achieve the Paris 1.5 degree goal, is a step forward. However, it is not a sufficient response to the urgency of the climate crisis. Unsettled technology such as ammonia/hydrogen co-firing with fossil fuels, CCS/CCUS/DACCS, and nuclear power obscure the top priority of maximising energy efficiency and a just transition to 100% renewable energy solutions. The Japanese government’s success in excluding a clear deadline for coal phase-out symbolises Japan’s role as a hindrance to climate action. It is important that Japan immediately ends all public financial support for international fossil fuel projects, without any loopholes. Towards the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida must learn from the latest IPCC report and present a roadmap for moving away from all fossil fuels, including coal, as an essential step to achieving peaceful, renewable solutions.”

Cansin Leylim Ilgaz, 350.org Associate Director of Global Campaigns says,

“Japan and the United States continue to green light fossil fuel projects while hiding behind flawed renewable financing partnerships elsewhere. As the world’s largest financiers of fossil fuels and the world’s richest nations, it is incumbent on the G7 to commit to a rapid, complete decarbonization timeline both at home and abroad. We can’t rely on the private sector to fulfil the climate debts of those historically most responsible for the climate crisis. This means the G7 putting their money where their mouth is: omitting false solutions and mobilising large-scale, grant-based climate finance to bring about a just transition.”

Media Contact