Energy & Environment

G-7 countries agree to ‘eventual’ coal power phaseout

Greg Nash

A group of major economic powers including the U.S. on Friday said they would agree to eventually phase out coal-fired power, a major contributor to climate change. 

The environment ministers of the Group of Seven (G-7) said in a joint statement on Friday that they would agree to an “eventual” phaseout of “unabated” coal power.

“Unabated” refers to methods of electricity generation that don’t use technology to capture their climate-warming emissions. 

The G-7 is made up of the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Japan is expected to be particularly impacted by the commitment, as the country got 32 percent of its electricity from coal in 2019. Coal makes up nearly 22 percent of the U.S. electricity generation

Earlier this week, Reuters reported that the countries had been considering an even more stringent action on coal — a phaseout by 2030. The wire service reported that the 2030 date faced objections from both the U.S. and Japan.

But the call for a phaseout is a step further from what countries agreed to during last year’s COP26 climate meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, when countries only agreed to “phase down” coal.

Coal is a major contributor to climate change, releasing more carbon dioxide than even other fossil fuels like oil or natural gas when it is burned. 

In their statement, the countries also committed to “predominantly decarbonised electricity sectors by 2035.” 

While a major economies shift toward mostly carbon-free power would cut a significant amount of planet-warming emissions, the goal is less ambitious than the Biden administration’s own stated goal of reaching entirely carbon-free power by that date.

And, amid high oil and gasoline prices, the countries also called on oil producers including OPEC — which includes major producers such as Saudi Arabia — to “act in a responsible manner and to respond to tightening international markets.”

Tags clean energy clean power Climate change coal power emissions Emissions reduction G-7 Group of Seven
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