G7 agree to stamp out fossil fuels

09 Jun, 2015 12:00 PM
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel chats with US President Barack Obama outside the Elmau Castle. Photo: AFP
Deep cuts in global greenhouse-gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the economy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel chats with US President Barack Obama outside the Elmau Castle. Photo: AFP

SOME of the world's richest nations have thrown their weight behind a plan to stamp out fossil-fuel emissions by the end of the century in an unprecedented show of unity on climate change.

The Group of Seven is pushing to "decarbonise," meaning any polluting gases from burning oil, gas or coal must be cancelled out by carbon-capture or other technologies by 2100. Nations should aim for emission cuts near 70 per cent of 2010 levels by mid-century, the G7 said in a statement on Monday.

"Deep cuts in global greenhouse-gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century," the group said following a summit in Germany hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The G7 has been under pressure to act on climate change after the world's biggest polluter, China, took steps to curb its carbon output. The group's solidarity on the issue is significant ahead of a United Nations meeting in Paris in December, where more than 190 nations will aim to broker the first global emissions-reduction deal that's binding for all countries.

"This long-term decarbonisation goal will make evident to corporations and financial markets that the most lucrative investments will stem from low-carbon technologies," said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute in Washington.

"Today G7 leaders have stepped up to the plate with serious climate commitments."

Those commitments include expanding renewable energies in Africa and getting 400 million people access to insurance against the negative effects of climate change, the G7 said.

The group also called for greater efforts to provide climate aid. Wealthy nations and private investors agreed in 2009 to hand $US100 billion a year to developing nations by 2020 to nudge them toward greener development. Few rich countries have set out exactly how they will reach that goal.

"The course is right, but more speed, ambition and specific actions are needed," said Samantha Smith, who follows the UN climate talks for the environmental group WWF. "Developing countries are ready to move fast and far on renewables, but they need finance and technology from rich countries to do it."

The G7 leaders reiterated their commitment to eliminate "inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies" and said they aim to make the UN's Green Climate fund, which will channel aid to projects in developing countries, fully operational by the end of the year.

Envoys at the December summit in Paris will work on an agreement to limit climate change since the Industrial Revolution to 2 degrees Celsius. Previous UN gatherings have been hobbled by a lack of consensus among large polluters such as the US and China.

Environmental groups broadly welcomed the fact that the meeting at Germany's Elmau Castle resort acknowledged that "the days of fossil fuels and carbon pollution are numbered", but criticised members for being vague on the details.

"Elmau delivered," said Greenpeace climate expert Martin Kaiser, adding that at the summit "the vision of a 100 per cent renewable energy future is starting to take shape while spelling out the end of coal".

He added however that "some G7 leaders have left the door open for high risk technologies, like nuclear energy and carbon capture and storage".

Oxfam's Jorn Kalinski said that "G7 leaders have indicated that fossil fuels are on their way out" but added that "they must now live up to their own rhetoric and kick their dirty coal habit".

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READER COMMENTS

David Harrison
9/06/2015 1:23:17 PM

Yeah, yeah, yeah . Ho hum. None of them will be around by the turn of the century, so all their blathering now is just urinating into each others pockets. What a bunch of tossers.
T Rex
9/06/2015 2:00:31 PM

Lol well said David. These clowns at the G7 have just given themselves the right to decide mankinds destiny. Its time the world stood up to these phychopaths before they kill us all with their insane beliefs.
HQ
9/06/2015 2:11:16 PM

Why would you want to capture and store a minor trace gas that is the basis of life on earth and what all our food crops eat to photosynthesis ? Sort of like capturing and storing all the rain water that falls because it might flood and drown us. I think the inmates have finally taken over the asylum.
nico
9/06/2015 2:48:06 PM

So, David, you're a hermit. You don't have family. You don't have friends with children. You don't care what happens to the planet so long as you are OK in your cave. The future? Who cares? (And you have no manners.)
newbroom
9/06/2015 3:44:43 PM

We do not have a seat at that leaders table but talk is cheap and India and China will make up for modest reductions elsewhere
stockman
9/06/2015 4:06:28 PM

How ignorant of Obama to be sitting sprawled out on the seat while Angela Merkel stands.Of course being fro the old USA he must be the greatest.
Bill Pounder
9/06/2015 11:12:26 PM

Notice all the NGOs are trying to kill off the developing world, when it has been the very increase in atmospheric CO2 that has greened the Earff and taken untold millions out of hunger. http://www.csiro.au/en/News/News- releases/2013/Deserts-greening-fr om-rising-CO2 This all must fit with the narrative that there are too many people & 90% are surplus to requirements. Someone better run that past China & India. Some heavy reading:- http://www.freedomadvocates.org/d ownload/research/agenda21/Agenda2 1-Earth%20Summit-The%20United%20N ations%20Programme%20of%20Action% 20From%20Rio.pdf
Qlander
10/06/2015 4:26:45 PM

So countries who's coal reserves will be exhausted by the end of the century, will stop burning coal - When they have no more coal to burn.
Qlander
11/06/2015 6:28:29 AM

David Harrison; Most of them won't be around in 4 years.
Black Stump
11/06/2015 1:43:54 PM

Only a mental hermit would believe the climate change scare stories from burning fossil fuels. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide does nothing more than make your veggies grow better. These so called leaders of the free world must want to see us all starve.
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