Next week’s G7 Summit in Japan is off to a rocky start after the host country refused to commit to a coal reduction timeline — and US President Biden said he might pull the chute.
On May 19, G7 leaders will meet in Hiroshima to tackle geopolitical, economic and climate issues.
But Japan already signalled that Canada’s ambitious coal-reduction targets are unreasonable. The Trudeau Liberal government wants Canada to phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030.
At last month’s G7 Ministers’ meeting on energy and climate change, Canada’s Environment Minister and CN Tower-scaler Steven Guilbeault was hoping to see “strong language” regarding a related coal exit timeline but went home with the complete opposite.
Japan was only willing to give a vague promise that was five years after he wanted.
“We call on and will work with other countries to end new unabated coal-fired power generation projects globally as soon as possible to accelerate the clean energy transition in a just manner,” the G7 summary statement read.
Japan was only willing to commit to a “predominantly decarbonized power sector” by 2035.
“The Japanese government has tried to avoid a specific definition of the word [predominantly],” said Japan Climate Initiative spokesperson Takejiro Sueyoshi.
“Predominantly means 70%, 80% or 90% decarbonized. But the Japanese government has said predominantly could also be interpreted as 51% or more,” he added.
Two-thirds of Japan’s energy comes from fossil fuels.
Japan is instead promoting new technologies like hydrogen and ammonia co-fired plants, as well as carbon capture and storage.
Guilbeault later tweeted, “Science is clear, countries, in particular G7, must do more and on a faster timeline to address climate change and keep the Paris Agreement temperature goal in reach.”
On Tuesday, Biden said that he might not be able to attend the G7 Summit next week unless Republicans and Democrats agree to raise the country’s debt ceiling to prevent the US from defaulting.
While Biden said he was “still committed” to attending the G7 summit, the default issue takes priority.
Earlier this month, Guilbeault deleted a tweet just hours after telling Canadians that their hunger and eviction notices are no comparison to the earth’s temperature rising by one degree in the next hundred years (or whatever).