By Adam McGibbon

Pay up and phase out: G7 countries must keep their climate promises 

The G7 nations have both the capacity and the responsibility to be leaders in phasing out fossil fuels, ending new fossil fuel extraction, and shifting billions in finance from fossil fuels into a clean energy transition. 

Leaders are convening for this week’s G7 Summit in Italy, a critical gathering with the fate of the 1.5°C limit hanging in the balance. 

The G7 nations – Canada, the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom – are some of the world’s wealthiest and powerful economies. They have the moral responsibility and economic ability to take the lead in implementing last year’s UN climate talks agreement to transition away from fossil fuels. 

The COP28 agreement marked the end of the fossil fuel era. Now, will the world’s wealthiest nations step up and pay their fair share to drive this transition?

The science is clear that any new oil and gas project is incompatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C, a limit countries restated at COP28. G7 countries also agreed in 2022 to end their international public finance for fossil fuels – a commitment they falsely claimed to have fulfilled at last year’s G7 summit. 

Despite their existing commitments, G7 countries have plans for massive fossil fuel expansion at home, and continue to back international fossil fuel projects with billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money. 

G7 nations are both large producers and consumers of fossil fuels, accounting for 27 percent of existing fossil fuel production. They continue to pour fuel on the fire while fossil fuel companies rake in record profits, with massive oil and gas expansion plans that would make the G7 responsible for half of the planned global fossil fuel expansion from now to 2050 – the equivalent CO2 pollution of almost 600 new coal plants. These plans would sabotage any hope of achieving the climate goals these wealthy nations have repeatedly committed to.  

The same leaders that say they cannot afford to pay their fair share for a globally just fossil fuel phase out are also footing the bill for international fossil fuel projects to the tune of $25.7 billion dollars per year – more than double their clean energy finance. They are limiting their offers for climate finance to tiny sums often channeled through undemocratic institutions, and suggesting we rely on corporations and banks to finance the rest. This is not just unfair, it is blocking the climate finance we urgently need. 

There is no shortage of public money to make the COP28 fossil fuels decision a reality – it is just poorly distributed to the most harmful parts of our economies that are driving the climate crisis and extreme inequalities. However, some G7 nations are already showing that commitments to end international public finance for fossil fuels are working – France, Canada, and the United Kingdom have followed through on their commitment, and are already shifting billions of dollars per year out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy. The remaining G7 countries must make good on their promise to stop funding fossil fuels, and pay their fair share for people-centered renewables on fair terms. 

This summit is a critical moment for G7 nations to demonstrate true leadership. It is the last time these countries will meet before they are required to submit updated and enhanced climate plans to 2035 under the Paris Agreement, which means it is their last chance to adopt the measures that are necessary to limit warming to 1.5°C.

We’re calling on G7 leaders to acknowledge that fossil fuel expansion is incompatible with the 1.5°C limit and commit to submitting enhanced climate plans under the Paris Agreement that will deliver a science-aligned fossil fuel phaseout, fulfill their commitment to end international public finance for fossil fuels, and deliver finance to where it’s most needed on fair terms for an equitable transition to clean energy.

The G7 leaders must rise to the occasion and demonstrate true leadership. They have the financial resources and technological capabilities to drive a global shift towards renewable energy. By making the COP28 decision a reality, they can pave the way for a sustainable and equitable future, averting climate chaos and fostering global cooperation.

Anything less than a bold, unified commitment to end fossil fuel expansion and massively scale up clean energy finance is a betrayal and gross negligence. The world is watching. The time for the G7 to act is now—billions of lives depend on it.

2 Comments

  • We all must give the Great Liars of this world the Will to do Right, without reneging on their commitments, or show them the Way to the door. It will be difficult, but we really have no choice while all GOVERNMENTS are continually lying to us, and will continue to do so until we get rid of them. We need CHANGE NOW. In America we must no longer vote the two party system. Look for a moment where it has brought us. Polluted Air, Water and Food. Both American Party’s have lead us to the place we now occupy. Do you want more of the same? If so, vote them in once again.
    Just the unprejudiced opinion of an educated, well traveled, retired successful businessman of 85, with Children, Grandchildren and Great grandchildren who I care about deeply.
    CC: Wew, Asl, Dy.

    Allan Weiss

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