Most advanced economies agree to phase out fossil fuel by the end of the century

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10 June 2015

LONDON: After two days of intense discussions, G7 leaders have committed to decarbonize their economies by the end of this century in order to limit global warming under 2 degrees Celsius – the internationally agreed threshold to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

For the first time, all G7 leaders supported a long-term climate plan of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 to 70% by 2050 from 2010 levels, while pledging to mobilize US$100 billion a year to help developing and emerging countries adapt to climate change.

“This commitment by G7 leaders, clearly shows that a clean revolution – the transition to a low carbon economy – makes environmental, moral and economic sense right now,”  Mark Kenber, CEO at The Climate Group said.

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel remarked that a GHG reduction of 40% is ‘clearly not enough’: an indicator of how governments, businesses and financial markets will need to further increase their low carbon investment to seize the economic and business opportunities that come from bold climate action.

“The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – the plans countries must submit as part of the Paris agreement later this year (INDCs) – must therefore be seen as investment plans for low carbon growth. The G7 announcement goes in this direction, and we must continue to build on this momentum towards COP21 in Paris.

Climate Week NYC 2015 this September provides another catalyzing point for governments, businesses and civil society to spur a new wave of climate actions while showcasing the economic and social opportunities that dealing with climate change bring.”

The G7 announcement has been hailed as another indicator of growing recognition amongst governments and business leaders of the global energy revolution now underway. This revolution will shift the world from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy over the coming decades.

Still, the G7 pledges alone are not enough to stay below the 2 Celsius degree trajectory, scientists claim. Getting to this goal will depend on securing a binding global agreement later this year in Paris, which in turn creates an ongoing process of rising ambition in the years to come.  

However, what emerges from this week’s meeting is further momentum and leadership from the G7 countries towards COP21. The G7 have now outlined a path towards a global low carbon economy that now needs to be elaborated to support forward-thinking businesses who are ready to grasp the economic opportunity of such a clean revolution.

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Image: Bundesregierung/Steins

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