( Clean Energy Wire ) – The German government and NGOs have welcomed the first G7 commitment to concrete targets for the rollout of renewables, but environmentalists also warned that the rich nation’s inclusion of carbon capture and storage (CCS) could lead to a “huge greenwashing show”. Following a meeting of climate, energy and environment ministers, German environment minister Steffi Lemke said the G7 countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the U.S. bear a special responsibility for solving the climate crisis given their resource consumption and the associated damage to the climate. “The G7 met this responsibility, which is also an obligation,” she said.
Energy and climate state secretary Patrick Graichen also said the G7 environment ministers took “the right path” for climate protection, and sent “the right signals” to partner countries outside the G7 on the way to COP28, and to decision-makers in business and society. “But in order to achieve our goals, we need to step up the pace and mobilise the necessary investments.”
At their meeting in the Japanese city of Sapporo, the G7 ministers for the first time agreed on joint targets for the expansion of renewable energies: 150 gigawatts expansion for offshore wind, and a combined solar capacity of more than 1,000 GW of photovoltaics by 2030.
They also committed to accelerating the phase-out all fossil energy sources, specifying that no new coal-fired power plants may be built.
Environmentalists also broadly welcomed the agreements. “The clear commitment to accelerate the expansion of renewables can be seen as a success and gives hope that the signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement will agree on a global renewables target at the climate conference in Dubai [COP28] at the end of the year,” Germanwatch executive director Christoph Bals told energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background.
He added the targets implied a five-fold increase in offshore wind, and a tripling of solar power by 2030.
But Bals also warned that the G7 commitment to phase out “unabated coal” leaves the door open for plants using carbon capture and storage (CCS). “CCS must not serve as a life extension for coal power.” He also criticised equating “blue” hydrogen made from natural gas using CCS and “green” hydrogen made with renewables: “Without strict criteria, this opens the door for a huge greenwashing show.”