G7: More climate action and ambitious environmental protection

In Berlin, the G7 climate, energy and environment ministers made a first-time commitment to the goal of a predominantly decarbonised electricity supply by 2035. They also committed for the first time to phasing out coal-fired power generation.

Klimaschutz-, Energie- und Umweltminister und -Ministerinnen der G7 Grafik© Adobe Stock / Photobank

With this commitment, the G7 are sending a strong message for more climate action - with a view to the 1.5-degree target and solidarity with the countries hit hardest by climate change. Their communiqué (in German only), published at the end of May, is considered an important prerequisite for achieving urgent progress among the members of the G20 and at the next „COP27" UN Climate Change Conference in November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Germany has held the G7 Presidency since 1 January and will host and lead the work process until 31 December 2022.

The Group of Seven (G7) is an informal forum of the Heads of State and Government of the seven leading industrialised nations. These include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.

In their communiqué, the G7 make it clear that they want to stick to their course together and come up with effective answers to the major challenges posed by the war in Ukraine with regard to the energy prices and security of supply in Europe and worldwide that have resulted. Together, they intend to continue to do more to promote the global energy transition and climate action and emphasise that these have long since become matters of national, European and international energy security.

In order to achieve these goals, they have committed, among other things, for the first time to the goal of a predominantly decarbonised electricity supply by 2035 and to phasing out coal-fired power generation. Following the G7 meeting on 31 May, Japan's Environment Minister Yamaguchi also announced that his country's power sector would be fully decarbonised by 2039.

The G7 recognise in their communiqué for the first time that they need to provide greater support to particularly vulnerable countries in dealing with the damage and losses caused by climate change. For the first time, they committed to working with other countries to double the provision of climate finance for adaptation to developing countries by 2025. Among other things, they call on multilateral development banks to present plans in time for „COP27" on how they can bring their portfolios into line with the 1.5-degree target.

The international financing of fossil fuels is also to end by the end of 2022. The commitment includes exceptions in limited cases if they are in line with the 1.5-degree target and the Paris Agreement. In this context, the G7 recognise for the first time that subsidies for fossil fuels are incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

In their communiqué, the G7 also emphasise the fundamental importance of decarbonising industry. In this respect, the 2020s are crucial years, they say. For this reason, the G7 member countries intend to cooperate even more closely internationally to accelerate the establishment of international markets for near-zero-emission industrial goods (green steel and cement). In a fundamental step, the G7 agreed on a common understanding for the definition of near-zero-emission steel and cement production and a so-called policy toolbox for industrial decarbonisation. This was based on the International Energy Agency (IEA) report „Achieving Net Zero Heavy Industry Sectors in G7 Members", which explains in detail the definition and supporting policy tools that can also be used beyond the G7.

To further accelerate the hydrogen ramp-up, the G7 launched the G7 Hydrogen Action Pact to cooperate on ramping up global markets, in addition to the development, regulation and promotion of hydrogen supply chains.

The communiqué also focused on the transport sector, which is to be „highly” decarbonised by 2030. To this end, the G7 committed to significantly increasing the sale, share and uptake of zero-emission vehicles (such as electric cars) in the current decade.

There are also common reduction targets now for energy-related emissions from buildings. The G7 also agreed on measures to decarbonise heating and cooling in buildings and to switch from fossil to renewable energies. Furthermore, zero-emission new buildings should ideally become standard by 2030 or earlier. Renovation rates are to be increased and support provided for the training of the workforce required to do this. In addition, the members of the G7 committed to improving data on the embedded carbon of their buildings.

The joint communiqué of the G7 climate, energy and environment ministers, including all the political decisions taken on the climate, biodiversity and the pollution crisis can be found here. It is now imperative that the most politically relevant decisions also be included in the G7 Leaders’ Communiqué.