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G-7 agree to end use of coal by mid-2030s but with caveat

Energy ministers from the Group of Seven (G-7) major industrial nations agreed on Tuesday to end the use of coal in power generation “during the first half of (the) 2030s,” according to an official communique, which marks a significant step toward curbing fossil fuel use.

However, in a caveat, the statement included an alternative goal of phasing out coal-fired power plants “in a timeline consistent with keeping a limit of a 1.5°C temperature rise within reach, in line with countries’ net-zero pathways.”

The caveat was included in the final wording of the communique to grant room for maneuver to Germany and Japan, whose coal-fired plants produce more than one-fourth of their total electricity, diplomatic sources had told Reuters.

Germany has written into its legislation a final target to shut coal plants by 2038 at the latest, while Japan has not set a date.

The agreement on coal marks a significant step in the direction indicated last year by the COP28 United Nations climate summit to phase out fossil fuels, of which coal is the most polluting.

Italy, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Japan also said they recognize that cutting Russian energy revenues is essential to support Ukraine and promised to work on transitioning away from imports of Russian gas.

They, however, did not agree on any common position on potential sanctions on Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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