G7 leaders have a chance to create climate of confidence on energy transition: NGOS to leaders

Friday June 5 - Elmau, Germany: On the eve of the G7 Summit in Elmau, Germany, NGOs from all seven member countries call on their leaders to send a strong signal that the era of fossil fuels is over. As the world's largest industrialised countries, the G7 have a global responsibility to go further and faster to address climate change, through rapid decarbonisation of their economies and providing support to the poorest.  Robust commitments from the G7 can help pave the way for the new universal climate agreement concluding in Paris at the end of the year even as the current round of talks are underway in Bonn. 

Climate science has shown that in order to avoid unmanageable climate change, fossil fuel emissions must be phased out in favour of a world economy powered by 100% renewable energy. This new reality is being recognised by a growing number of key economic and corporate actors all over the world.  It is high time for the G7 to add vital momentum by agreeing to lead the global phase out of fossil fuel emissions by 2050. 

Decarbonisation starts at home, by tackling the dirtiest energy source: coal. Undermining recent claims by fossil fuel companies that rising emissions result in lowering poverty, the Africa Progress Panel report published today shows that coal-fired power generation is not a development solution for Africa. We call on G7 leaders to agree to phase out their domestic coal use and stop supporting coal projects in developing countries. 

To phase out poverty, we need a stable climate. The richest countries must support access to clean energy, climate-friendly development and climate resilience in the developing world. In Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries promised to mobilise $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. Simply reiterating the promise is not enough. Six years on we’re still no clearer on how this target will be reached. Angela Merkel has shown leadership by pledging to double Germany's public climate finance.  Other G7 leaders need to step up to the plate on this issue.

Christoph Bals, Germanwatch (Germany) says: "The G7 needs to send a strong signal to investors that the era of fossil fuels is going to end. Angela Merkel has put the decarbonisation goal on the G7 agenda. But she can only be a credible champion of decarbonisation if Germany acts decisively at home to reach its own 2020 climate target. This will require a significant reduction in the use of coal in the German electricity mix before 2020."

Alden Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists (USA) says: "President Obama has shown real leadership in ramping up climate action at home, and clearly wants a strong climate agreement in Paris.  He initiated the developed countries’ $100 billion pledge in Copenhagen; now he must help ensure it's delivered on.  President Obama and other G7 leaders should also commit to decarbonize their economies by mid-century, to provide the leadership needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change."

Celia Gautier, Réseau Action Climat France says:  "With France's COP21 Presidency this year, President Hollande should step up at the G7, reaffirming the need for a fossil-free future by 2050. He also needs to put his own house in order. Two state-owned companies -- the French utilities Engie and EDF -- are still investing massively in coal abroad, emitting as much as half of France's carbon pollution. Yet both of them are sponsoring the Paris COP. It's François Hollande's responsibility to officially call on these companies to commit to divest from coal ahead of COP21."

Liz Gallagher, E3G (United Kingdom) says: "As a leader committed to fighting poverty, David Cameron knows climate stability is essential for poverty alleviation. 2015 marks a crucial year for both climate and development, for the first time all countries will join forces.  David Cameron and the G7 must spearhead a new model of development fit for purpose in the 21st century, making development and climate action work together, not undermine each other. G7 Foreign Ministers missed a great opportunity to address threats to our security from climate change.  The G7 leaders will need to put that right and get a plan now to protect the poorest communities on the frontline of disaster."

 Kimiko Hirata, Kiko Network (Japan) says:  "Japan needs to urgently stop blocking crucial decisions from the G7 on overseas coal investments and a on a clear decarbonisation goal.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should open his eyes to the fact that promoting coal power at home and overseas, combined with its poor draft climate action plan towards the Paris agreement puts international collaborative efforts in jeopardy. We urge other G7 countries to step up.”

Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence (Canada) says: “We urge the other G7 countries not to let Canada stop you from agreeing on transitioning away from fossil fuels by mid-century. In Canada, the federal government needs to address the country’s fastest growing source of carbon pollution—Alberta’s tar sands. Citizens across the country want the Canadian government to step up and join G7 and global leaders in taking meaningful climate action.”

Vittorio Cogliati Dezza, Legambiente (Italy) says: "Italy has to do its fair share. Matteo Renzi must immediately stop his support of drilling projects in the Adriatic Sea and the Sicily Channel. At the same time, the Italian government has to finally put in place an ambitious national climate action plan with renewables and energy efficiency as its key pillars.”

CONTACT:

For a one-on-one interview with any of the above spokespeople, please contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, mobile: +49 157 3173 5568rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org