G7 ministers have collectively agreed to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels during last week’s meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in Sapporo, Japan.
The nations – consisting of the UK, US, France, Japan and Canada – agreed “to accelerate the phaseout of unabated fossil fuels so as to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050”.
Published yesterday (16 April), the ministers’ Communiqué recommitted the parties to the Paris Agreement, “keeping a limit of 1.5 °C global temperature rise within reach through scaled up action in this critical decade,” and to “recognize the importance of promoting an efficient diversification of supply sources to enhance energy security and energy affordability.”
The UK is seeking to pivot its trade focus to the Pacific after it joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and British energy companies like Octopus have also recently expanded their involvement in the Japanese market.
The agreement also aims for “a collective increase in offshore wind capacity of 150GW by 2030 based on each country’s existing targets and a collective increase of solar PV to more than 1TW by 2030 estimated by the IEA and IRENA through means such as each country’s existing targets or policy measures.”
In a statement, the International Energy Agency (IEA) welcomed the text, which it said “gave strong recognition to many areas of the IEA’s work on clean energy transitions and energy security”.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol spoke on the first day of the event and held bilateral meetings with G7 ministers and envoys. Birol “highlighted that the clean energy economy is emerging faster than many people think, notably in areas such as solar PV, electric cars and heat pumps – and he urged governments to carefully take these developments into account in their policy actions.”
The G7 communiqué called on the IEA to “report on the various actions to accelerate the phase-out of domestic unabated coal power in a manner consistent with a just transition.”
However, some green groups criticised the G7 starement, with the Fossil Fuel Non Proliferation Treaty Initiative saying the text was “rife with greenwash & inaction”.