June 16, 2024
Kiko Network
Mie Asaoka, President

On June 14 (local time), the Apulia G7 Leaders’ Communiqué was released, summarizing the outcomes of the G7 Summit held in Apulia, Italy, from June 13-15, 2024. The communiqué focused on issues such as support for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia, strengthening support and cooperation in Africa, and AI.

G7 pushes for implementation of the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy

Regarding climate change and energy, the contents of the communiqué released by the G7 Climate, Energy, and Environment Ministers after their meeting in Turin in April were confirmed, including commitments to submit NDCs (nationally determined contributions) consistent with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C target, and reiterating the COP28 agreement to transition away from fossil fuels, triple the installed capacity of renewable energy, and double energy efficiency. Furthermore, for the first time in a G7 Leaders-level agreement, the phase-out of unabated coal-fired power generation was clearly stated with a deadline of the first half of 2030s (emphasizing “this critical decade”).

However, the communiqué also included a provision allowing public investment in gas, in the context of restricting revenues of and breaking away from energy dependence on Russia. Additionally, the document notes that it "recognizes the potential” of nuclear energy, despite its many lingering issues, such as safety concerns in times of conflict.

Climate finance will be a major focus at this November’s COP29 conference, and the G7 countries should be shifting domestic and international finance away from fossil fuels (including gas) and nuclear power, and instead allocating it to transitioning away from fossil fuels, increasing energy conservation, and expanding renewable energy as agreed at COP28, as well as making efforts to encourage their implementation throughout the world.

The Japanese government must change its policies to achieve 1.5°C

The released communiqué includes a commitment to the phase-out of unabated coal-fired power generation during the first half of 2030s. The Japanese government claims that domestic fossil fuel power generation utilizing hydrogen and ammonia co-firing is not subject to phase-out because it is considered a form of “abatement”, but this is not recognized by the international community.

“Unabated coal-fired power plants" refers to those without interventions to capture 90% or more of CO2 (IPCC 6th Assessment Report). Currently, CO2 capture by CCS (carbon capture and storage) is only 60-70%, and this is something that will not be achieved even by the 2030s. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued in April final standards for pollution from thermal power plants, requiring existing coal-fired power plants planned for long-term operation to curb carbon emissions by 90% starting in 2032.

Ammonia co-firing in Japan's coal-fired power plants and the GENESIS Matsushima Plan to add gasification facilities to aging coal-fired power plants are not effective in reducing CO2 emissions, and are completely different from the level of "abatement" indicated by the IPCC that are assumed by the international community to be consistent with the 1.5°C goal. In addition to this, these plans will also significantly hinder the expansion of renewable energy.

While discussions are currently underway in Japan to formulate the 7th Strategic Energy Plan, Japan must face the fact that it is the only G7 country that has not set a timeline for an exit from coal-fired power, and promptly present a concrete roadmap for the phase-out of coal power generation. Moreover, OECD countries must phase out coal-fired power by 2030 in order to achieve the Paris 1.5°C goal, and therefore the phase-out should be achieved earlier than the first half of 2030s agreed by the G7 countries.

In addition, the increased demand for electricity due to the growing size of data centers and other factors has recently been emphasized, and discussions have focused on a stable energy supply, with the government set to embark on the construction of new nuclear power plants. This is an abandonment of the pledge to reduce dependence on nuclear power after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and new nuclear power plants must not be permitted to be built.
Now is the time for Japan to address the climate crisis head-on by recognizing climate science and international agreements, further promoting energy conservation, thoroughly discussing a roadmap for maximizing renewable energy and phasing out coal-fired power by the early 2030s at the latest, and considering an energy mix consistent with the 1.5°C goal.


Apulia G7 Leaders’ Communiqué(G7 Italia Website)


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