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G7 governments agree to end international funding for coal plants this year

The G7 group of some of the world’s richest countries have agreed to stop the overseas financing of coal-fired power plants within the year, in a bid to tackle climate change, their environment ministers said in a joint statement.

Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US have been holding two days of virtual talks, which concluded on Friday afternoon.

“We stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now and commit to take concrete steps towards an absolute end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021,” a group statement read.

The states pledged to phase out the burning of the fossil fuel – which emits the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide – and shift to decarbonized energy models by the 2030s.

They also recommitted to a global temperature rise of no more than 1.5°C over the next two decades.

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The announcement marks a significant moment for Japan in particular, which relied on burning coal to generate almost a third of its electricity between 2019 and 2020.

French Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said in a tweet that she acknowledged the “difficult decision” Japan had made on the issue, and welcomed its participation in the pledge.

The International Energy Agency warned in a new report earlier this week that no new oil and gas fields or new coal mines could be approved after this year if the world is to keep within the 1.5°C target and reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

The agreement on Friday is intended to move the G7 countries in line with the legally binding Paris Agreement signed by 196 nations in 2015, which includes the 1.5°C warming limit, among other climate-protecting measures.

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