The G7 meeting in Elmau, Germany from 26 June – 28 June 2022 ended with some key remarks on climate change and the global response to the current energy crisis. As leaders are working to cut Russia’s oil and natural gas revenues and mitigate the economic fallout of the conflict, they expressed interest in temporarily supporting fossil fuel investments.
The final communique from the summit stated that investment in liquefied natural gas was a “necessary response to the current crisis” and “in these exceptional circumstances, publicly-supported investment in the gas sector can be appropriate as a temporary response.”
“In the present situation we will have short-term needs that will require large investment in gas infrastructure, in developing countries and elsewhere,” said Mario Draghi, Italy’s prime minister. However, he pointed out that this infrastructure could be later converted to carry hydrogen in order to meet long-term net zero goals.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed a position for sticking to climate goals, despite current pressures on energy markets.
As Putin’s war against Ukraine is spurring fears in Europe of energy shortages this winter, G7 feels pressured to respond to the developments by apparently choosing to increase energy supply from “secure” and traditional energy sources like natural gas and other fossil fuels.
However, climate groups are criticizing G7 for failing to deliver greener energy solutions to respond to the problem, and for its renewed focus on gas. “We cannot afford this kind of backsliding. There are lives on the line,” said Laurie van der Burg, campaigner at Oil Change International.
G7 also commented on the pledge to end investments in overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of this year, saying there would be an exception “in limited circumstances clearly defined by each country consistent with a 1.5C warming limit”. Some critics call that opening a loophole to the pledge.
According to Friederike Röder, senior director at Global Citizen – a US non-profit organization that advocates for climate protection, the outcome of the G7 meeting is “very disappointing”. She also said that the group failed to set a deadline for phasing out coal.