Analysis | What to watch at the G-7 summit on climate change, energy – The Washington Post

by | Jun 24, 2022 | Climate Change

Placeholder while article actions loadGood morning and welcome to The Climate 202! 🚨 Today at 10 a.m. Eastern, the Supreme Court could rule in West Virginia v. EPA, a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to cut carbon emissions from power plants. We’ll be frantically refreshing the court’s website so you don’t have to. But first:What to watch at the G-7 summit on climate change, energyLeaders from the Group of Seven major industrial countries will convene in Germany on Sunday, with guest attendees from Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Ukraine.The summit comes as the world confronts multiple crises, including an energy crunch sparked by the war in Ukraine, a worsening famine in the Horn of Africa, and a string of climate disasters, from massive floods in China to historic heat waves in Europe and the United States.AdvertisementThe overlapping crises around energy security and food security will test world leaders’ resolve to tackle climate change, which has exacerbated the other crises in many ways, according to experts who track international climate diplomacy.“The geopolitical context of this G-7 is hugely challenging,” Alex Scott, climate diplomacy and geopolitics program leader at E3G, an energy think tank, told The Climate 202.“But climate change is a threat multiplier,” Scott added. “So addressing climate change has to be part of the solution to addressing any of these other issues.”Here’s what we’re watching as world leaders prepare to gather at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria this weekend:Will Germany face criticism over its potential gas deal with Senegal?Top environmental ministers from the G-7 agreed in May to end government financing for overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of this year. AdvertisementBut German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has recently expressed interest in investing in gas projects in Senegal, as his country tries to wean itself off Russian oil and gas.“It is a matter worth pursuing intensively,” Scholz said at a news conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall during a three-day trip to the African nation last month.Vanessa Nakate, a youth climate justice activist from Uganda, slammed Scholz’s overtures as “a misguided and selfish decision.”“When gas is a bridge, it’s a bridge to hell,” Nakate said in a statement. “We need Germany and the rest of the G7 to be real leaders and scale up the investment to clean energy globally.”Eddie Pérez, international climate diplomacy manager at Climate Action Network Canada, said Scholz faces a test of his leadership on climate after the era of Angela Merkel, who was dubbed the “climate chancellor” for her environmental promises.Advertisement“Merkel, in the middle of different types of crises, was always able to put the climate crisis as a priority,” Pérez told The Climate 202. “But maybe this time it will be different.”Will leaders backslide on their commitment to ditching coal?At the United Nations climate summit in Scotland last fall, COP26 President Alok Sharma called for “consigning coal to history.” And in May, the top environmental ministers from the G-7 committed to phasing out unabated coal power, although they declined to set a date for doing so.But Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands announced plans this week to prepare to resurrect old coal-fired power plants. The moves came just days after Russia reduced gas flows to several European countries, heightening fears of energy shortages.German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Tuesday that the prospect of firing up old coal plants is “bitter” but essential ahead of winter.AdvertisementMeanwhile, climate activists have called on Japan — the world’s third-largest economy — to accelerate the pace of its transition away from coal.“As the outlier in its speed of energy transition, Japan needs to go back to the drawing board and get serious about the amount of clean electricity that it needs to build,” Dave Jones, senior program lead at Ember, an energy think tank, said in a statement.Japan’s Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday, however, that it would withdraw financing for key coal-fired power plant projects in Bangladesh and Indonesia.“Japan will continue to comprehensively support a realistic transition toward a carbon-free society while … taking into account the unique circumstances of developing countries,” the ministry said in a statement.Agency alertGranholm meets with refiners on smog-fighting restrictions, fuel export banDuring a meeting with refiners on Thursday aimed at combating high gasoline prices, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm expressed interest in lifting summertime smog-fighting restrictions and backed away from a plan to ban fuel exports, according to two people familiar with the matter, …

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