The G7 on getting beyond fossil fuels

2015-06-09

in Economics, Politics, The environment

Regardless of whether you think the commitment is credible, a position on climate change adopted by the G7 bears consideration:

“At yesterday’s summit in Bavaria, the G7 leading industrial nations agreed to phase out fossil fuels by the end of the century.”

For one thing, it’s questionable when politicians set goals so far off in the future. For another, we need to phase out fossil fuels much more rapidly if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change. Nonetheless, there’s one important message here: fossil fuels have no long-term future, and that is increasingly being recognized by the world’s most powerful governments.

Hopefully, this will help people come to grips with the implications of the carbon bubble, and make people think more critically about the appropriateness of building long-lived new fossil fuel infrastructure like pipelines.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

. June 9, 2015 at 12:07 pm

The G7 emission targets seem to be a death sentence for Alberta’s oilsands. It’s no secret the oilsands are a high cost and high carbon operation. Not only is the sector battling low commodity prices right now, any type of carbon reduction strategies, such as a carbon tax, would add extra financial pressure. The industry will have to find a way to remain competitive if the global economy shifts its focus towards low carbon.

“We are all clear, we are still going to need fossil fuels for some time to come. Now we have, at the global level, the latest day for when we need to be off fossil fuels,” said Ed Whittingham, with the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank. “CEOs in Calgary are smart; they will do the planning that needs to be done.”

If you like promises about the environment, there are more to come. Countries will be lining up to announce even more pledges later this year at the United Nations climate change conference in Paris in December.

. June 9, 2015 at 12:49 pm

G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use by end of century

German chancellor Angela Merkel announces commitment to ‘decarbonise global economy’ and end extreme poverty and hunger

. June 9, 2015 at 1:41 pm

Canada commits to G7 plan to end use of fossil fuels

Canada has joined other Group of Seven leaders in pledging to stop burning fossil fuels by the end of the century, but Canadian officials are playing down the promise as an “aspirational” target and Stephen Harper says it will only be reached through advances in technology.

In their end-of-meeting statement, G7 leaders called for an end to fossil-fuel use by the global economy by 2100 as well as cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 that lower them as much as 70 per cent from 2010 levels.

The G7 statement represents a watered-down goal from what German Chancellor Angela Merkel as host of the‎ summit had sought. Ms. Merkel had been pushing for a commitment to a low-carbon economy, or relatively light use of fossil fuels, by 2050.

A Western diplomat said European countries in the G7 went into the meeting looking for stronger language about moving to a global low-carbon economy, and it was Canada, a net exporter of energy, along with Japan, who wanted to push back the stated timelines for that ambition. In the end, one diplomat noted, the G7’s final communiqué, which calls for decarbonisation of the global economy “over the course of this century,” allows each country to put a different interpretation on whether that would happen nearer to 2050 or 2100. But the notion of decarbonisation, at least, was agreed upon.

alena June 9, 2015 at 1:42 pm

It is a very powerful statement to the companies that hold so much power in our world. They themselves are more likely to invest in alternative energy sources to keep the profits rolling in.

. June 10, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Stop oilsands expansion, Canadian and U.S. researchers say

More than 100 Canadian and U.S. researchers are calling on Canada to end expansion of its oilsands, for 10 reasons that they describe as “grounded in science.”

“Based on evidence raised across our many disciplines, we offer a unified voice calling for a moratorium on new oilsands projects,” said a statement issued Wednesday by the group, led by academics at the University of Waterloo, Simon Fraser University and the University of Arizona.

He added that the scientists are not calling for existing oilsands projects to shut down — they just don’t want new ones to start up.

“No new oilsands or related infrastructure projects should proceed unless consistent with an implemented plan to rapidly reduce carbon pollution, safeguard biodiversity, protect human health and respect treaty rights,” the letter says.

That makes good sense, he added, given that G7 leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, have just agreed to end the use of fossil fuels by 2100.

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