The recent G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment in Sapporo, Japan focused on how advanced economies can make a significant impact on addressing the climate crisis. As these economies have a major contribution to the problem, their timely actions are crucial. The meeting aimed to tackle key issues such as steering the global agenda on climate action and proposing solutions for the same.
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G7 Commits to Energy Transition and Reducing Fossil Fuels, But More Action Needed for Climate Crisis
- Energy transition and diversification have received greater support from wealthy countries following the destabilization of the international energy market by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- To tackle the pressing issue of climate change, the G7 has pledged to raise their offshore wind capacity by 150 GW and their solar capacity by over 1 TW through collective efforts.
- While the commitments made on energy transitions are more than what was initially expected, they may not be enough to keep up with the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, which requires a 10.8 TW renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade.
Importance of Critical Minerals for Sustainable Development
The G7 countries recognize the importance of critical minerals for high-tech industries and national security, but the uneven distribution of these minerals has raised concerns about supply chain vulnerability and potential disruptions. As such, they have committed to diversifying the sources of critical minerals to address these vulnerabilities. However, there are concerns about the social and environmental impacts of mining for these minerals, and it remains unclear how the G7 will increase the supply without exacerbating existing inequalities and geopolitical concerns around mineral extraction from poorer countries. The communique mentions maintaining high social and governance standards, but more clarity is needed on how these concerns will be addressed.
The G7 acknowledged the need for an ambitious and appropriate new goal on financial flows from both public and private sources, by Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement. However, the meeting did not result in any financial commitment toward the energy transition for developing nations. On the issue of loss and damage, the G7 committed to working on the decisions agreed upon at COP27 to create new funding arrangements, including establishing a fund to aid developing countries. The statement also mentioned accelerating efforts for financing adaptation but did not go beyond reaffirming previous commitments. Despite developing nations’ criticisms of the lack of mobilization of $100 billion annually by wealthy nations, the communique did not offer any additional solutions to address this failure.
Carbon Trading Systems
- Regulatory concerns exist around carbon markets, including poor quality or fake credits.
- Rich countries acknowledge the importance of ensuring high-integrity markets.
- A set of ‘Principles of High-Integrity Carbon Markets’ has been developed by these countries.
- These principles are in addition to other principles being developed in the market, such as the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market’s ‘Core Carbon Principles’.
Decarbonization of Industries
- G7 countries committed to a ‘Climate Club’ forum proposed in 2022 for transitioning industries to climate-friendly processes and technologies.
- However, the meeting did not discuss an action agenda for the club.
- Carbon leakage risk was recognized, but no plan to address it was given.
- A pledge was made to end new plastic pollution by 2040.
The G7 commitment highlights the targets set for solar and wind capacity addition. More weight is being given to solar and wind compared to low-carbon technologies and renewable hydrogen.
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