Meeting of the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers
For the first time, the G7 are committing to the goal of a predominantly decarbonised electricity supply by 2035 and to putting an end to coal-fired power generation. At their meeting, the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers agreed on joint measures to increase climate protection and biodiversity and ensure a secure energy supply. They also committed to providing more support for vulnerable countries in the event of climate change damage.
Climate protection, the preservation of biodiversity and ensuring a secure energy supply cannot be pitted against one another: they are problems that must be solved together. This is what the G7 countries agreed on. Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck exchanged views on this with their colleagues in Berlin. Germany holds the G7 Presidency this year.
“There must be no despondent ‘business-as-usual’ approach here: what we need now is a ‘now more than ever’ outlook,” said Federal Environment Minister Lemke following the meeting. “For me, this really is a major signal sent out by today’s G7 declaration: the fact that the three crises are to be considered as an integral whole – the climate crisis, species extinction and plastic pollution.” The G7 states were taking on responsibility for a large part of global resource consumption, said Lemke, as well as for the damage this inflicted on the climate and the environment. “The G7 will act hand in hand as strong partners – and take joint action to combat global crises.”
“Even in these difficult times, the G7 is staying the course and sending out a powerful signal for increased climate protection,” added Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Habeck. In addition to the common goal of phasing out coal as quickly as possible, the joint final declaration also includes – for the first time – the goal of achieving a predominantly decarbonised electricity supply by 2035. “These are huge steps forward – and they are more important than ever these days and in view of of Russia’s atrocious war of aggression against Ukraine. Climate protection, the coal phase-out and the expansion of renewable energies are issues of national, European and international energy security that we must resolutely move forward on together.”
Raising G7 climate ambitions and providing better support for others
The G7 countries commit to raising their climate ambitions by boosting sectoral targets (e.g. renewable energy target), establishing non-CO2 sub-targets (e.g. methane) and accelerating the implementation of the 2030 climate targets (NDCs), for example. Vulnerable countries are to be given greater support in dealing with the damage and losses caused by climate change. Together with other countries, the G7 also commit to doubling climate financing for adaptation in developing countries by 2025.
Coal phase-out sealed
For the first time, the G7 countries commit to the goal of achieving a predominantly decarbonised electricity supply by 2035. Coal-fired power generation is to be ended as soon as possible. The G7 also intend to decarbonise transportation to a large extent by 2030, i.e. do without fossil fuels in this sector.
Direct international public financing of fossil fuels is to be ended by the end of 2022. The G7 also reaffirm their commitment to end “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies by 2025. The fact that fossil subsidies are incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement is now recognised by the G7 for the first time.
Driving forward the decarbonisation of transport and industry
By 2030, the transport sector is to be decarbonised to a significant extent. Federal Climate Action Minister Habeck urged for further efforts to be made in this area, however: “The next conference must continue to work on this issue.” The G7 are deepening their cooperation through the G7 Industrial Decarbonization Agenda with the aim of decarbonising industry. The Climate Club proposed by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz could also make a contribution. Ministers stressed the importance of multilateral initiatives in meeting the 1.5 degree target and implementing the Paris Agreement.
Biodiversity conference to take place this year
The G7 are united on biodiversity protection: a new global framework for biodiversity protection must be adopted this year. For this reason, the World Conservation Conference is to take place in 2022, having been postponed several times due to the coronavirus pandemic. The G7 also emphasise the potentially positive reciprocal impact of biodiversity protection measures and pandemic prevention.
Better funding for species conservation and natural climate protection
National and international funding for nature is to be significantly increased by 2025. The G7 commit to mobilising financial resources from all sources, including public funds. This sends out an important signal for negotiations regarding the global biodiversity framework and the increase in budgetary resources for international biodiversity funding. The G7 also commit to implementing natural climate change mitigation measures, taking into account robust social and environmental standards. For this purpose, the Federal Environment Ministry recently presented a national plan of action based on funding of four billion euros.
“Ocean Deal”: a binding instrument for the protection of biodiversity
The G7 are sending out a signal in favour of ambitious marine protection. They have concluded an “Ocean Deal” as a binding instrument to protect biodiversity on the high seas and preserve environmental standards in connection with potential deep-sea mining. In addition, the G7 recognise Antarctica as a highly sensitive and biodiverse ecosystem with a key role in the global climate system, as well as advocating the designation of strictly protected marine protected areas.
Climate crisis as a factor that exacerbates conflict
In her address to the Environment, Climate and Energy Ministers, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock referred in particular to the impact of the crises worldwide: “The climate crisis, the food crisis and security issues are all interlinked, highlighting how much the climate crisis is now becoming a factor that exacerbates conflict.” She said she was optimistic about the future, however: “We can do it – we can shape the future together if we take on responsibility. We can make sure millions of people see that international cooperation is worthwhile because it improves their future.”
Since the climate and biodiversity crises are closely interlinked and require coordinated solutions, Minister Lemke and Minister Habeck have agreed to hold joint meetings of the Environment, Climate and Energy Ministers.