G7 Countries Promise to Stop Financing Coal — Don’t Set Date to Stop Burning It

by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer

World leaders from the Group of 7 countries wrapped up their first post-pandemic in-person summit on Sunday, and the climate crisis was one of the primary agenda items. The heads of state from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and Japan (as well as the European Union)

  • Agreed stop funding coal projects around the world by 2022 and to offer $2.8 billion to support the process
  • Committed to phasing out gas and diesel cars
  • And said they’d raise pledges to send $100 billion to poorer nations to deal with the climate crisis — a promise unfulfilled since 2009. 

However, they didn’t set a date to end coal burning in their home countries.

Why This Matters: The G7 countries are among the world’s wealthiest and currently produce about a quarter of global emissions. While promising to stop international coal projects is one step, failing to set a date for their own phase-outs weakens the commitment. It also makes it more difficult for G7 countries to call on China to limit its coal use. The leaders might agree that the end goal is a global transition away from fossil fuels and onto energy sources that don’t catastrophically warm the planet, but this summit didn’t reach the level of action needed to reach that goal. 

About that $100 Billion Pledge: At the 2009 Conference of the Parties (the annual United Nations-hosted climate summit), “developed” countries committed to providing $100 billion to “address the needs of developing countries” by 2020. 

The G7’s reaffirmation of the previous $100 billion a year target doesn’t come close to addressing the urgency and scale of the crisis,” Teresa Anderson from Action Aid told the BBC. “Rich countries have so far failed to deliver on climate finance pledges. The majority of what has been provided so far has been in the form of loans, which are pushing vulnerable countries further into debt and poverty.”

The UN says the $100 billion should be seen “as a floor and not as a ceiling,” but that requires the countries meeting the initial target first.  

In the face of the perfect storm of planetary crises — climate, Covid, injustice and ecosystem collapse — the world’s richest democracies have responded with a plan to make a plan, not yet a plan of action,” Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation, who served as France’s chief climate ambassador during the 2015 Paris negotiations, told the New York Times.


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