Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

G7 energy, environment leaders haggle over climate strategy

G7 energy, environment leaders haggle over climate strategy

Energy and environment ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy nations met on Saturday in northern Japan, seeking to reconcile the world's heavy reliance on fossil fuels with the urgency of ending carbon emissions to stave off the worst consequences of climate change.
The meetings in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo are aimed at forging a consensus on the best way forward, ahead of the G-7 summit in Hiroshima in May.

“We are facing the challenge of promoting reforms to resolve climate change ... and achieving energy security at the same time,” economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura told the ministers as the meetings began.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meetings, US Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said the G-7 was “powerfully positioned to be able to lead” in the effort to stem global warming. “We appreciate Japan's leadership and its stewardship of G-7 this year.”

But differences persist over how and how quickly, carbon emissions can be erased, especially at a time when the war in Ukraine has deepened concerns over energy security, complicating that effort.

At the G-7 summit last year in Germany, the countries set a common goal of achieving a fully or predominantly decarbonised electricity supply by 2035.

US officials voiced support for Japan's strategy centring on so-called clean coal, hydrogen and nuclear energy to bridge the transition to renewable energy. Others are pushing for a faster transition to renewable energy.

The head of the United Nations recently called for an end to new fossil fuel exploration and for rich countries to quit coal, oil and gas by 2040. While emissions among the G-7 nations, especially in Europe, have begun falling, they are still rising globally, especially in big, increasingly affluent economies like India and China.

The G-7 nations hope to lead by example, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said: “We expect that those countries see that this can be done and the nations that have the wherewithal to make these investments to first out give hope to others to be able to do it as the technology lowers the cost.”

The US government's approval of fossil fuel initiatives such as the Willow project on Alaska’s petroleum-rich North Slope has drawn criticism for their environmental impact and for running counter to President Joe Biden’s pledges to cut carbon emissions and move to clean energy.

There's a strong business case for climate-friendly policies, Granholm said, given the estimated €20 trillion global market in clean energy by 2030.

“People see people getting jobs in this area. People who start to drive electric vehicles and don’t need to pay gasoline prices know that it’s much cheaper to drive EVs. It’s all becoming obvious to people," she said while touring the Suiso Frontier, the world's first and only liquid hydrogen carrier, a showcase of the latest technology for what Japan's leaders call a “hydrogen society.”

While Japanese farm fields increasingly are sown with solar panels rather than crops and its gusty coastlines are studded with wind turbines, the country still expects for about 60% of its energy to come from fossil fuels in 2030, with renewables accounting for up to 38%. New fuels and nuclear power would account for the rest.

Meanwhile, Japan is scrambling to protect communities from extreme weather and other impacts of global warming. Sweltering summers, torrential downpours that trigger flooding and landslides, and violent storms have become the norm.

In Sapporo, Japan is seeking an endorsement of its so-called “GX transformation” plan, which its leaders say is designed to foster energy sufficiency and phase out carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.

Legislation yet to be enacted would entail issuing 20 trillion yen (€135 billion) in bonds to help attract 150 trillion yen (€1 trillion) in combined public-private investment in decarbonisation. The law also calls for a carbon-pricing system to make businesses pay for their carbon emissions.

Environmental activists say the plan will keep the country's dwindling nuclear industry on life support while undermining the transition to renewable energy sources.

“As the world tries to overcome two crises of climate and energy, especially in Japan, we need to drastically increase renewables,” said Takejiro Sueyoshi, co-representative of the Japan Climate Initiative, a non-government organization of 768 member companies and organizations.

“Discussions in Japan have gone backwards as if we were in the 20th century. We must smash a wedge into the debate to push it forward rather than backwards,” he said.

The JCI urged the officials meeting in Sapporo to push for more ambitious targets, noting that Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy already get more of their electricity from renewable sources than Japan’s 2030 target and that despite its own faltering progress toward phasing out fossil fuels, the United States will get most of its electricity from renewable energy by 2035.

“There's no time left. The window for change is closing, but there is still hope. We need to use the sense of crisis as a turning point,” Sueyoshi said.

The G-7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Newsletter

Related Articles

0:00
0:00
Close
Italian Activist Ilaria Salis Returns Home After Election to European Parliament
England Faces Serbia in Euro Opener with Defensive Concerns
Dermatologist Warns Against Sunbed Usage
UK Man Jailed for Non-Consensual Condom Removal
US, Britain, Canada Accuse Russia of Interference in Moldova’s Election
EU Urged to Welcome Skilled Russians to Weaken Putin
EU Elections Overview: Far-Right Gains and Major Political Shifts
Israel Rescues Four Hostages from Gaza
Emmanuel Macron Calls for Snap Election
Jordan Bardella: Young Far-Right Leader Poised for Future Political Influence in France
Dutch Military Intel Uncovers Extensive Chinese Cyber Espionage
Turkish Student Arrested for Using AI to Cheat in University Exam
Rise in Dengue and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases in Europe Due to Climate Change
Far-Right National Rally Dominates France's EU Vote
Macron Calls Snap Legislative Elections After Far-Right Victory
Far-Right Gains Significantly in EU Election
Orban’s Fidesz Party Wins Majority in Hungary’s EU Elections as New Challenger Emerges
Meloni's Far-Right Party Wins European Elections in Italy
Key Insights from the European Union Elections
European Union Elections and Rise of Far-Right Parties
Macron Dissolves Parliament and Calls Snap Elections
Russia Adds Yulia Tymoshenko to Wanted List
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen Assaulted in Central Copenhagen
Germany and France Oppose EU Luxury Car Restrictions to Russia
French Citizen Arrested in Russia for Alleged Military Intelligence Gathering
Germany's Defense Minister Calls for War Preparedness by 2029
Deutsche Bank Revises Eurozone GDP Outlook for 2023
Widening Wealth Gap in Europe
FTI Group Files for Insolvency, Affecting Thousands of Travelers
Germany Announces €23 Billion Tax Cuts to Support Inflation-Hit Households
West Nears Plan to Tap $300bn in Frozen Russian Assets
The European Central Bank (ECB) has cut interest rates for the first time in nearly five years
Putin Warns Against Western Arms Deliveries to Ukraine
Slovak PM Blames Opposition for Assassination Attempt
Study Finds Covid Vaccines May Have Contributed to Excess Deaths
EU Commission Considers Broader Digital Surveillance Measures
Macron to Host Zelensky in Paris for Crucial Talks
Italy's Prime Minister Meloni to Visit Migrant Centers in Albania
Conservatives Plan to Define Sex as Biological in Equality Act
China Accuses MI6 of Recruiting Chinese Government Staff as Spies
Nigel Farage Makes Eighth Attempt to Become UK MP
UK Poll Predicts Historic Victory for Labour Party
Orban Amplifies Anti-NATO Rhetoric Ahead of Elections
Meloni Urges EU Parliament to Adopt Right-Wing Coalition Model
Venice Implements New Tourist Restrictions
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Urges US to Stop 'Smearing' China
Hungary Commits to Enhancing Investment and Trade with Cambodia
The Reality of Social Europe: Homes, Training, and Jobs
China Warns EU Against Tariffs on Electric Vehicles
Chinese EV Makers Target European Market with Competitive Prices
×