Germany maintains climate focus as war against Ukraine dominates G7 summit agenda
G7 leaders have finished their three-day meeting in the Bavarian Alps with a commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, even as they agreed that public funding could be necessary for some fossil gas projects to reduce dependence on Russian energy. The summit agenda was dominated by Russia’s war against the Ukraine, which G7 leaders sought to counter by demonstrating strength and unity in the group of influential western economies. The leaders agreed to follow through on a key initiative by German chancellor Olaf Scholz and establish a climate club by the end of the year but were criticised for watering down language on electric vehicles and fossil fuels. Cooperation with developing and emerging countries played a vital role at the summit, with several planned ‘just energy transition partnerships’ to support their transition.
Scholz "still has a big gap to fill" to advance climate action - reactions to result of Germany's G7 summit
Civil society groups and others have largely reacted with criticism of the German presidency's role in furthering climate action within the G7 group of influential economies. With the energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine creating severe challenges for national governments to ensure a secure energy supply, chancellor Olaf Scholz' declared aim to make climate action a priority at the group's summit in the Bavarian Alps has been largely missed, many commentators agreed after the German presidency's final summit statement. While some minor success has been made in furthering climate cooperation beyond the G7, plans to ramp up gas exploration are said to undermine progress in emissions reduction rather than advancingt it.
Summit live blog
Climate is planned to figure high on the agenda as leaders of the G7 democratic economies come together in a remote castle with picturesque views of alpine peaks in southern German state Bavaria. The German presidency has promised to push for ambitious climate action at the summit, while the fallout of Russia’s war against Ukraine is looming large over the talks held from 26 to 28 June. NGOs are worried countries might backtrack on earlier promises to exit fossil fuels and end their financing domestically and abroad, while the German government struggles to make meaningful progress on its key proposals, such as the “climate club” and just energy transition partnerships. CLEW is tracking developments at Schloss Elmau as well as the latest views and comments from officials and stakeholders in this news blog.
News articles in the run-up
The German government’s G7 agenda has been thrown off course by Russia’s war against Ukraine, but chancellor Olaf Scholz says he is determined to keep climate policy as a top priority for the summit of the seven large economies in Bavaria on 26-28 June. Whether leaders will reach ambitious and substantial agreements – such as a highly anticipated coal exit date – remains to be seen in light of an agenda bound to be dominated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict’s fallout on energy and food security.
Russia’s war against Ukraine will throw the agenda of the upcoming G7 summit off course, but it will not derail the climate focus host country Germany has set, political analyst Ella Kokotsis told Clean Energy Wire.
The Group of Seven western industrialised states (G7) has committed to making their electricity systems “predominantly” carbon-free by 2035, but stopped short of setting a concrete date for exiting coal. Following their meeting in Berlin, the G7 environment, climate and energy ministers said only that they would support “an accelerated global unabated coal phase-out”. Analysts said the announcement to decarbonise power sectors was a “big step ahead” in the fight against climate change but added that the to-do list for the G7 summit of heads of state and government next month in Bavaria remains long, given that there was also little progress on climate financing and other issues.
Development ministers of the G7 met in Berlin on 18-19 May to discuss the German G7 presidency’s plans for so-called Just Energy Transition Partnerships. These cooperation schemes are intended to activate private and public financing on a large scale for specific investments, for example for a socially just coal phase-out, the expansion of renewable energies or the creation of new jobs in regions particularly affected by structural economic change, said the German development ministry.
G7 ministers call for “new climate partnerships” with emerging and developing countries (16 May 2022)
Foreign ministers of the G7 have committed to supporting emerging and developing countries in their endeavour to transition towards climate neutrality through. The G7 would engage in “new climate partnerships“ by "matching high ambition with the necessary means to accelerate this transition", said the final communiqué released after a meeting under the German G7 presidency.
For as dramatic and tragic as the war of aggression against Ukraine is: it must not lead us as the G7 to neglect our responsibility for global challenges, such as the climate crisis or the pandemic. On the contrary, many of the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of the year are becoming even more urgent in view of the changed world situation.
Germany bolsters climate foreign policy with appointment of Greenpeace head as special envoy (10 Feb 2022)
Germany aims to strengthen its climate foreign policy with the appointment of Greenpeace International head Jennifer Morgan as special envoy. The new “face of Germany’s international climate policy” will expand partnerships with other countries and lead dialogue with civil society worldwide, said foreign minister Annalena Baerbock.
The German government wants to use this year’s presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialised nations and democracies to improve the coordination of global efforts to combat climate change. “We want to achieve that no country goes it alone,” said chancellor Olaf Scholz when he presented his government priorities in Berlin. Germany is set to push for the establishment of an international climate club of countries with ambitious policy. Cooperation with emerging and developing countries especially on infrastructure will also be a key goal, making the G7 leaders’ summit on 26-28 June in Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps an important stepping stone to gather momentum ahead of the UN climate change conference COP27 later in the year.
Interview: G7 climate club could strike “grand bargain” on climate and health – advisor to German govt (12 Jan 2022)
As some of the richest democracies in the world, the Group of Seven (G7) have the opportunity to strike a “grand bargain” with developing nations on combatting climate change at the same time as health crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, says economist Dennis Snower.
Germany’s new government coalition is set to markedly strengthen the country’s European and international climate policy efforts and use the presidency of the G7 in 2022 to advance the establishment of a global “climate club” and new bilateral “climate partnerships”. The alliance of Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) has only just taken office, but the coalition agreement and first minister statements clearly make the case for treating the transition to climate neutrality as a global challenge.
16 June 2022: Online briefing
One week ahead of the leaders' meeting, Clean Energy Wire invites a government representative to lay out Germany's energy and climate priorities for the summit and answer journalists' questions together with other politicians and experts.
27 January 2022: Online briefing
Five months ahead of the leaders’ meeting, Clean Energy Wire invited state secretary Jochen Flasbarth to lay out how the government aims to use the presidency to support and cooperate with developing countries. In addition, Brigitte Knopf, Secretary General of the MCC, and U.S. advisor on climate policy and politics Alden Meyer shared their views on what Germany must deliver to make its G7 leadership a success story.