G7 Energy Ministers Achieve Breakthroughs on Unabated Coal Phaseout, Global Energy Storage, and Phasing Out Harmful Non-CO2 Pollutants

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TURIN, ITALY — Energy and climate leaders met in Turin, Italy, April 28-30, for the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Climate, Energy and the Environment, where they reached consensus on a range of energy and climate actions that set out a marker of ambitious action following the energy outcomes from COP28 in Dubai last December. The G7’s outcome broadcasts unified commitment to advance the clean energy transition, bolster global energy security, and set the stage for further efforts this year in the G20 and at COP29 in Azerbaijan. 

The G7 is an intergovernmental forum of like-minded, major economies and democratic allies, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States; the European Union also participates. The G7 meets each year to discuss pressing political and economic issues and coordinate policy, culminating in a Leaders’ Summit of G7 heads of state, which President Biden will attend June 13-15 in Apulia, Italy.  

The unanimous Ministerial Communique translates a series of energy and climate pledges from the Dubai agreement into concrete implementation actions by the G7 members. 

In a groundbreaking decision, the G7 reached a first-ever consensus commitment to phase out existing unabated coal power generation in energy systems during the first half of the 2030s. This is a major outcome on something the G7 has never before been able to find common ground on, given significant domestic differences among members. Led by DOE Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Andrew Light, the U.S. team engaged in extensive negotiations to identify common ground that was both ambitious and enabled all G7 members to sign on. The decision is consistent with the IEA’s 2023 Net-Zero Roadmap Report, which updates earlier IEA analysis to indicate advanced economies should phase out coal by 2035. The United States will advance this major commitment throughout major 2024 negotiations, including the G20 under Brazil’s Presidency, and COP29. 

The G7 also committed to a quantitative global goal to increase energy storage in the power sector to 1500 GW in 2030—a more than six-fold increase from 230 GW in 2022. This major commitment will advance the COP28 global goal to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 and transform intermittent energy into reliable baseload power. This quantified goal is a major tangible action step and tees up similar efforts in the G20 and at COP29, demonstrating the G7’s potential to set the stage for global ambition. 

The Ministerial Communique recognizes nuclear energy as a key component of “clean/zero emissions” energy, part of the suite of solutions to achieve the global energy transmission and enhance energy security. This milestone builds on U.S. success in negotiating the first-ever paragraph on nuclear energy in the International Energy Agency (IEA) during this year’s Ministerial. The text also includes a commitment to promote responsible deployment of nuclear technologies that is further leaning than previous G7 nuclear texts, and a condemnation of Russia’s seizure and militarization of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. 

Other highlights include the G7 securing a historic fusion energy outcome, including a commitment to international collaboration and creation of a first-ever G7 working group on this groundbreaking technology. The G7 further broke new ground in committing to phase out the use of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in new switchgear applications by 2035. SF6 is an energy-sector gas whose emissions are 23,500 times more potent than CO2 with an atmospheric lifetime of 3,200 years. 

The G7 made a resounding and unified condemnation of Russia’s illegal and unjustified war in Ukraine—both in its final text and in multiple sessions of the Ministerial—and emphasized unwavering solidarity for the people of Ukraine. Members made a new commitment to pursue efforts to end “significant dependency” on and transition away from Russian gas imports as soon as possible. The G7 also redoubled its commitment to Ukraine’s energy security, including rebounding from enhanced Russian attacks on Ukraine’s electricity grid and energy infrastructure, which are a direct attack on Ukraine’s civilian population. 

Originally published at https://www.energy.gov/articles/g7-energy-ministers-achieve-breakthroughs-unabated-coal-phaseout-global-energy-storage-and

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