• G7 summit produces range of pledges on climate

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Leaders of the G7 (USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Canada and Italy) have made a number of climate-related pledges at their summit in Cornwall, UK. The main points relevant to the combustion industry were:

  • Setting a maximum average global temperature rise of 1.5oC as its target, the stricter of the Paris Agreement goals.
  • Targeting a reduction in their collective emissions of 50% from 2010 levels by 2030.
  • Reaffirming the target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • To “phase out new direct government support for international carbon-intensive fossil fuel energy as soon as possible, with limited exceptions consistent with an ambitious climate neutrality pathway”. This includes to “rapidly scale-up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity”, stressing that “international investments in unabated coal must stop now”, and that the countries will end “new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021”.
  • Ending “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 (as had already been pledged).
  • Scaling-up zero emission vehicle technologies, including aviation and shipping (though targets were not attached to these).
  • Taking “action to decarbonise areas such as iron and steel, cement, chemicals and petrochemicals, in order to reach net zero emissions across the whole economy”, with a focus on accelerating “electrification and batteries, hydrogen, carbon capture, usage and storage, zero emission aviation and shipping, and for those countries that opt to use it, nuclear power.”
  • Ensuring policies encourage sustainable production and the conservation and regeneration of ecosystems and the sequestration of carbon.

Environmentalists were somewhat disappointed with the pledges, fearing they did not go far enough, and if the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero Roadmap is a point of reference for achieving the 1.5oC target, it is true the pledges are insufficient, as a) the private sector can continue to fund unabated coal projects, b) oil and gas has been mostly neglected. Moreover, of course, the G7 is not able to dictate to the world, as China’s reaction to other parts of the G7’s final statement makes clear. One minor positive from the statement is that a distinction was made between unabated and abated coal firing, meaning that carbon capture and storage was recognised as a means, as it is, of making coal relatively ‘clean’ in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.