In a recent gathering at the Japanese city of Sapporo, leaders of the G7 nations came together to forge an ambitious path towards a greener future. They focused on bolstering solar energy and offshore wind power, with the aim of expediting the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Although the G7 did not commit to a specific deadline for ending coal usage, as proposed by Canada, they acknowledged the potential role of natural gas in addressing energy supply concerns. The ongoing crisis in Ukraine has underscored the importance of renewable energy and energy security.
Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, emphasized that climate action and energy security are complementary rather than opposing forces. The G7 nations collectively pledged to amplify offshore wind energy by 150 gigawatts and solar capacity to over 1 terawatt by 2030, vowing to “significantly enhance electricity generated by renewable energies.”
Moreover, the G7 nations agreed to hasten the elimination of “unabated fossil fuels,” or the consumption of fossil fuels without carbon capture technology, with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions in energy systems by 2050 at the latest. They also resolved to take “concrete and timely steps” to expedite the removal of “domestic, unabated coal power generation” as part of their commitment to a primarily decarbonized power sector by 2035. Canada, Britain, and several other G7 members agreed to phase out coal-fired power without carbon capture by 2030.
Dave Jones, head of data insights at energy think tank Ember, noted that the solar and wind energy commitments signify the G7’s reliance on these renewable powerhouses to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels. He added that the emphasis on offshore wind energy could help Japan decarbonize its power sector more rapidly than previously thought.
Host nation Japan, which relies heavily on imported energy, aims to maintain liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transitional fuel for the next 10 to 15 years. The G7 nations acknowledged that investment in the gas sector may be necessary to counter potential market deficits caused by the Ukraine crisis, provided it aligns with climate goals. Furthermore, they established a goal of eliminating additional plastic pollution by 2040, advancing the original target by ten years.