G7 ministers agree in principle to phase out coal by 2035

As of: April 30, 2024 8:46 a.m

The energy ministers of the G7 countries have agreed on a joint coal phase-out by 2035. The final decision is expected to be published today. There were protests on the sidelines of the meeting.

At their meeting in Turin, Italy, the climate, energy and environment ministries of seven leading industrial nations (G7) agreed to phase out coal energy. The Federal Ministry of Economics confirmed this on Monday evening. The countries want to implement the phase-out by 2035.

“Yes, we have an agreement to phase out coal in the first half of the 2030s,” said British Energy Secretary Andrew Bowie on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting. “There is a technical agreement,” agreed Italian Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin. The final decision will be made later today. The final declarations should then also be published.

“A historic agreement”

The G7 countries had decided to take concrete steps to shut down coal-fired power plants in 2023. However, a specific timetable has not been agreed. “This is a historic agreement that we were unable to achieve at COP28 in Dubai last year,” Bowie told Class CNBC. The fact that the G7 countries are now sending a common signal to the world about phasing out coal is incredible.

A final agreement would be a first concrete step towards actually phasing out the use of fossil fuels. The G7 host Italy, for example, still produced 4.7 percent of its electricity in a few coal-fired power plants in 2022. The government in Rome is currently planning to shut down the plants on the mainland by 2025; on the island of Sardinia the deadline is 2028.

Coal is an important energy source in Germany

In Germany and Japan, however, coal plays an even greater role. According to information from the Federal Statistical Office from March, the share of coal-fired electricity was a good 33 percent in 2022 and 26 percent in 2023. This made it the second most important energy source for electricity generation in Germany. The Federal Republic had set the coal phase-out in 2020 to 2038 by law. However, the traffic light coalition made up of the SPD, FDP and Greens stated in the coalition agreement at the end of 2021 that it would “ideally” be brought forward to 2030.

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and Economics State Secretary Anja Hajduk traveled to Turin from Germany. Italy holds the G7 presidency this year.

Nuclear power in discussion

According to host Italy, nuclear energy and biofuels will also be discussed at the meeting in Turin. According to Pichetto Fratin, they should be mentioned in the final declaration as alternatives for the G7 countries to decarbonize electricity generation and transport.

In addition to electricity generation, energy storage should also be addressed. The background is the need to store and make available the irregular electricity from renewable energies in the long term.

Protests on the sidelines of the event

There were protests on Monday on the sidelines of the meeting. According to the Ansa news agency, demonstrators tried to get to the participants’ quarters. The police initially held them back with shields and then used tear gas, water cannons and clubs. Eggs, bottles and smokers were thrown at the emergency services from the ranks of the demonstrators.

Verena Schälter, ARD Rome, tagesschau, April 30, 2024 10:34 a.m

source site