28 Jun 2022, 17:00
Julian Wettengel

G7 Summit: Leaders say they won't compromise on climate goals

Photo shows Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps at the time of the G7 summit 2022. Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.
The luxury spa Schloss Elmau and its surroundings provide the scenic backdrop for the G7 leaders' meeting. Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.

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.

The dossier Germany maintains climate focus as war against Ukraine dominates G7 summit agenda provides an overview of stories and background on climate and energy policy during Germany’s 2022 G7 presidency. Find the German government’s G7 presidency programme here. You can stay updated on the key news about the climate and energy focus of the G7 agenda with our rolling coverage, and sign up to our daily or weekly newsletter.

28 Jun 2022, 17:00

G7 say they won't compromise on climate goals as they tackle fallout of war against Ukraine

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.

Read the story here, and find more reactions to the summit outcome here.

28 Jun 2022, 09:53

G-7 to tell ministers to explore price cap on Russian gas – Bloomberg

G7 leaders are set to instruct ministers to explore implementing a price cap on Russian gas, according to people familiar with the discussions, reports Bloomberg. Capping Russian gas imports would be important for European Union countries such as Italy that rely heavily on Russian supplies and have been pushing the idea both at European and global level.

28 Jun 2022, 08:00

G7 to stick to climate targets despite energy crisis, draft communiqué shows – dpa

News agency dpa reports that the G7 leaders are set to make clear they aim to stick with climate targets even as Russia’s war against the Ukraine has exacerbated the energy crisis.

“While we take immediate action to secure energy supplies and halt the rise in energy prices due to exceptional market conditions, we will not jeopardise our climate and biodiversity goals - including the energy transition - or our commitments to end our dependence on Russian energy,” the draft says [own translation from German].

As many countries face a gas supply shortage from Russia and rising energy prices, they have introduced potentially climate-harmful policies such as lowering taxes on petrol, planning new gas infrastructure to import from alternative suppliers, or bringing mothballed coal plants back online.

A price cap on Russian oil is also mentioned in the communiqué, reports dpa. This could work by the G7 linking services such as insurance for oil transport to compliance with the price cap.

28 Jun 2022, 07:21

G7 debate oil price cap – media

The second day of the G7 summit saw French president Emmanuel Macron “roll out a head-spinning” proposal for a worldwide cap on oil prices, reported Politico. While the U.S. government had proposed the introduction of a cap on Russian supply even before the summit – with Germany’s government sceptical – Macron’s initiative would require the cooperation of major suppliers such as Saudi Arabia, wrote Politico.

“The point of President Macron was to say … if we have a cap, it should be applied globally, which is a proposal that was made in the room that we need to discuss tonight in sherpa meetings to see what's behind it,” an EU official said.

Other media also reported the price cap debates. Senior U.S. government sources told Deutsche Welle that leaders had made progress on these talks, while the New York Times explained how such a cap might work.

27 Jun 2022, 19:56

Elmau set to be "historic" G7 summit – political analyst

The leaders’ meeting at Schloss Elmau in the German Alps is set to be a “historic” G7 summit, says political analyst John Kirton. Never before has a summit of the G7 summit faced such a simultaneously unfolding and severe set of interrelated crises, many of which were caused or exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine, says the director of the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto. Kirton says the German G7 presidency under chancellor Olaf Scholz can still deliver on its top priority climate, but the “real fight going on now is ending fossil fuel finance.”

Read the interview here.

27 Jun 2022, 17:53

Text on just energy transition partnerships “just a starting point” – Germanwatch

NGO Germanwatch’s policy director Christoph Bals welcomed the statement by the G7 leaders and partner countries to join forces to accelerate the clean and just transition towards climate neutrality. “This is obviously just a starting point, not the end,” he told Clean Energy Wire. “We can really only evaluate this when the ‘just energy transition partnership’ [JetP] agreements are negotiated.”

The G7 plan such just transition partnerships with India, Indonesia, Senegal and Vietnam – in addition to the existing JetP with South Africa. Bals said that it was positive the financial cooperation does not refer to fossil fuels, but renewables and the social design of the transition. Using public finance to support gas exploration in countries like Senegal under a JetP would “not be consistent” with the text as it was published today, said Bals. Scholz has been pushing to allow such financing despite Germany having signed a pledge to the contrary at last year’s COP26.

Bals said the planned partnership with India could become “very relevant” for the global climate. “I am happy that the negotiations with India over the past weeks have become much more constructive and at higher rank and with more commitment from India than early on.” In no other country have total emissions risen more sharply in recent years, said Bals.

Indonesia is the second very important partner, said Bals. “I hope that negotiations for the JetP can be finalised by the time of the G20 summit in Indonesia.”

Bals called it “unfortunate” that the G7 and partner countries had not agreed to phase out coal, but applied the same language India had pushed through at the last UN climate summit – namely “phase down” coal use. “I hope this changes in the course of further negotiations.” Bals said the G7 would now soon have to say how much money would flow to the partner countries.

27 Jun 2022, 17:28

Must continue to fight climate change even as war against Ukraine drags on – advisor to German govt

German government advisor Dennis Snower has emphasised that efforts to stop climate change must not suffer under the ongoing war against Ukraine. The economist said at a press briefing of think tanks that while the war might drag on, “we must not forget the other danger which is climate change. We need to work on stopping that now. Our future generations will not forgive us if we forget climate change, because there is a war on now.”

Dennis Snower is the president of the Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) – which was mandated to lead the Think7 Group. He said it was important that the actions by the G7 in different policy fields like climate, energy and infrastructure had to be coherent overall.

Snower commended chancellor Scholz’s push for a climate club. The proposal should be seen as “an important ray of hope, because it means that the countries who join the club will have common, measurable and verifiable objectives,” said Snower. “They will have maximum latitude in the instruments whereby these objectives are reached, and they will create a level-playing field so that they don’t suffer competitive disadvantages.”

27 Jun 2022, 16:36
Fridays for Future climate activists at a press conference at the G7 summit. Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.

“G7 is a fossil fuel madness” – Fridays for Future activist

Activists from the climate movement Fridays for Future have decried the continued "fossil fuel addiction" of the G7 during a press conference at the sidelines of the summit in Bavaria. "The G7 summit so far is a fossil fuel madness," said activist Dominika Lasota.

The group also criticised continued fossil fuel imports from Russia to Europe and the G7. Activist Ilyess El Kortbi from the eastern Ukrainian city Kharkiv said the payments to Russia fuelled war efforts. “The war in Ukraine is a climate war, a fossil fuel war,” he said.

“Our world is burning right now and the climate crisis will lead to even more wars,” said 20-year old Polish activist Wiktoria Jedroszkowiak. She called on countries to “stop labelling” natural gas as a sustainable fuel of bridge fuel in the energy transition. She said chancellor Scholz must live up to his campaign promise of being a ‘climate chancellor’.

27 Jun 2022, 16:10

G7 and partners aim to join forces to accelerate the clean and just transition towards climate neutrality

The G7 and the outreach partners present at the Elmau summit have agreed to work together to accelerate a clean and just transition towards climate neutrality, while ensuring energy security. Germany’s G7 presidency has published a G7 chair’s summary entitled “Joining forces to accelerate clean and just transition towards climate neutrality”. Leaders agreed to collaborate with a particular focus on energy policy reforms that accelerate the decarbonisation of economies towards net zero while ensuring universal access to affordable and sustainable energy.

Far from a full phase-out or from providing any details on the speed, the leaders said they aim to “phase down” coal. They also said they aim to “rapidly” expand clean and renewable energy sources. The G7 and partners said the so-called just energy transition partnerships (JetP) had a role to play in supporting the transitions the countries initiate.

While they welcomed progress achieved in regards to the existing JetP with South Africa, G7 leaders said they “intend to move forward negotiations” with Indonesia, India, Senegal and Vietnam as well. That is stopping well short of announcing conclusion of any deals. These could be announced later in the year, or even after Germany’s G7 presidency ends.

27 Jun 2022, 15:25

Germany enlists Canada to speed transition away from Russian gas

News agency Bloomberg reports that Germany’s Scholz used a meeting with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau to push for closer energy ties as his ruling coalition in Berlin races to find alternatives to Russian fossil fuels. Germany hopes to import liquefied natural gas from Canada and the two countries have been discussing options for an LNG terminal on Canada’s east coast to export to Europe, German officials told Bloomberg.

27 Jun 2022, 13:10
G7 leaders and outreach guests gather for the family photo at Schloss Elmau. Photo: CLEW/Wettengel.

G7 welcome partner countries for climate talks as sherpas continue work on final communiqué

Chancellor Scholz and the other G7 leaders have welcomed guests from partner countries and international institutions like the international energy agency (iea) to Elmau. In a jovial atmosphere despite the burning heat at the luxury spa resort Schloss Elmau, leaders gathered for the family photo outside, helping each other find their name tags on the floor – before heading inside for a session entitled “Investing in a better future: Climate, Energy, Health”.

A government official told Clean Energy Wire that while the outreach working session was going on, the lead negotiators (sherpas) continue to work on details of the final communiqué. There is still one day left to find an agreement on remaining issues.

27 Jun 2022, 10:49

Climate club slowly takes shape – media

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s initiative for a climate club has been rather vague on what it should actually entail until the summit started. Government sources had spoken of three pillars: carbon mitigation/carbon pricing, industrial decarbonisation and the cooperation with and support of developing countries in their just transition away from fossil fuels. Now, the idea is slowly taking more solid shape at the summit and a document could be published today, reports Lukas Scheid for Europe.Table.

Negotiator sources said that especially industrial decarbonisation was still being discussed last night. The comparability of climate action instruments remained as a key issue, as joint standards for a decarbonised industry had to be created.

27 Jun 2022, 09:38

Coalition “surprised” about Scholz proposal on foreign gas financing – media

The Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports that German chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition partners in Berlin were “surprised” by the leaders push to allow public financial support for gas exploration projects in other countries.

SZ also spoke to Germanwatch’s Christoph Bals, who warned that exploring new gas fields could quickly become “a door-opener” for more fossil fuel projects. Nobody could guarantee that for example Senegal would exploit a reservoir only to an extent which is still in line with climate targets.

26 Jun 2022, 18:24

G7 to invest 600bn dollars in infrastructure in developing countries, gas could be included

The G7 leaders have launched the “Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment”, promising to mobilise 600 billion euros for sustainable infrastructure projects in low and mid-income countries.

“These strategic investments are in areas critical to sustainable development and to our shared global stability,” said U.S. president Joe Biden and announced his country alone would mobilise 200 billion euros.

Germany’s Olaf Scholz said that like the broader G7 agenda, the infrastructure work is also affected by the current geopolitical situation. “We have therefore discussed how our investments globally in climate-neutral and low-carbon energy – including gas – can help us as a temporary response to Russia’s use of energy as a weapon.” Possible investments in natural gas infrastructure have been a big controversial topic at and in the run-up to the summit in Elmau.

Scholz said that the so-called ‘just energy transition partnerships’ (JetP) are part of the new infrastructure partnership. The first of these – with South Africa – had been announced at COP26 in Glasgow last year.

“We are building strong partnerships to support the global transition to net zero,” said Scholz. “With our just energy transition partnerships, we support an accelerated clean and just transition of developing and emerging countries towards climate neutrality.” The G7 was working on additional JetPs with Indonesia, India, Senegal and Vietnam, said the chancellor.

Laying out some details of the new partnership, Scholz said: “We are bringing together our development finance institutions, coordinate with multilateral banks and private sector and setting up partnerships and country platforms.” The partnership was building on other national and regional initiatives, such as the EU’s Global Gateway, he added. The decision to cooperate on infrastructure was taken at last year’s G7 summit in the UK.  

The G-7 program responds to China’s so-called Belt and Road Initiative, which Western officials have long argued traps receiving countries in debt and with investments that benefit China more than their hosts, reported ABC News.

26 Jun 2022, 17:12

Germany’s climate credibility at stake at G7 summit – Greenpeace head

Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany, tells Clean Energy Wire that Germany’s international credibility on climate is at stake as things currently stand at the summit.

Clean Energy Wire: Which direction is this summit taking when it comes to climate and energy policy?

Martin Kaiser: I am very concerned that the summit will not ultimately bring together the two major challenges, namely independence from Russia's fossil fuels and, on the other hand, providing an adequate response to the climate crisis. What is currently being discussed by Olaf Scholz and the other heads of state and government is rather an expansion of the fossil infrastructure, especially with regard to gas, but not the necessary entry into energy savings and renewable energies.

What would that mean for the global climate agenda this year?

Olaf Scholz must now show leadership here. He must show that he makes the right decisions in the long term and thus also sets the impulses for the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, the G20 Summit but also for the next UN climate change conference. The rich economic nations must say whether they are serious about climate protection. Of course, this also provides answers to the question of energy dependence and fossil energy prices.

What do you say to the argument that after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, we are in a completely new situation and also have to support new gas infrastructures in developing countries?

The big danger here are imprudent decisions. Instead of saying how we can address the bottlenecks in gas supply, especially for households, in the next one to two years, Scholz argues with long-term investment decisions. This is the wrong way. It would be much more important to bring gas consumption in industry to a level that is compatible with a 1.5° path, together with the companies, and not simply support the old business model.

So, where do things stand with regard to Germany's credibility in climate policy?

That is at stake here and at the European level. Olaf Scholz must now contain finance minister Christian Lindner with a directive decision. The latter is trying to block the phasing-out of internal combustion engines in Brussels. We expect Olaf Scholz to make such a decision and then take the G7 countries along with him on such a path. This could actually move a lot.

What has to happen here at the summit to make it a success?

The climate crisis must be addressed in the same way as the war in Ukraine, as a tangible current crisis that cannot be postponed. The answers are a common path with energy savings, investments in renewable energies and an exit from fossil fuels.

26 Jun 2022, 16:14

Low turnout at G7 protests

The turnout at civil society protests surrounding the G7 summit has been low until now. While organisers had expected at least 20.000 people in Munich on Saturday (25 June), only around 5.000 showed up in the end. “We are disappointed,” a Greenpeace protester told German news agency dpa.

Today’s turnout at a protest in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – near the site of the spa resort where leaders are currently meeting – was not much better. Public broadcaster Bayrischer Rundfunk (BR) reported that less than 1.000 people at the ongoing protest. In terms of content, the organising team of the protest wants to focus on several issues, including peace, climate justice, a globally fairer economy, agriculture and food sovereignty. "We especially want to represent voices from the global South that could not travel here to Elmau," Tanja Söding from the "Stop G7 Elmau" alliance told BR.

While protests remain largely peaceful, blocked streets meant that the government has started to airlift journalists from the media centre to Schloss Elmau via helicopter.

26 Jun 2022, 15:19

Summit starts: Scholz welcomes discussions “far away from the typical, formalised procedures”

German chancellor Scholz welcomed U.S. president Joe Biden for a bilateral meeting ahead of the official kick-off of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau. Biden complimented Scholz for "stepping up" when he became chancellor and said that Germany was one of Washington's most important allies after the two appeared briefly before the press, reported Deutsche Welle. Biden also said the G7 states and the NATO alliance must "stay together" in the face of Russia's invasion.

In a brief press statement after the first G7 working session, Scholz said he was very happy that the leaders had ample time to discuss important issues “far away from the typical, formalised procedures in a way that everybody speaks their mind.” That had worked well in the first hours and “if this continues then this meeting will result in a coordinated policy of the strong economic democracies.” Scholz called the G7 a “suitable alliance to develop joint answers to the challenges of our time.”

The next working session this afternoon would be about questions concerning global infrastructure, said Scholz. “This is meant very widely – it’s going to be about infrastructure for harbours, train connections, electricity, but also global health.”

26 Jun 2022, 00:33

G7 debate possibility of supporting gas exploration in developing and emerging countries

When it comes to energy policy talks at the G7 summit, a key issue was how to replace Russian gas, and “how to combine this question with the desire by some developing and emerging nations to explore gas,” said a German government official in Elmau. “What can support look like?” is one of several “highly complex issues that must be brought in line with the climate targets,” said the official. “How can we achieve the energy transition despite the use of gas as a transitional form of energy? How can we ensure that it is not used as an excuse to water down climate targets?”

The official also said negotiators are “intensively discussing” how a possible price cap for fossil fuel deliveries from Russia – as proposed by the U.S. government – could be in line with the sanction regimes of the G7. “We are well on the way to finding an agreement, because everyone is concerned that price increases due to sanctions will not lead to a decline in Russia's revenues from energy supplies.” The official also said that the interest in the concept of a ‘climate club’ is increasing and negotiations were making headway.

25 Jun 2022, 17:31

G7 ‘climate club’ must not undermine multilateral climate process – Think7 researchers

The G7 have to be ambitious on climate action, do more to fight the global food and debt crises and make the health system more resilient, said the Think7 in Bavaria.

“The proposed G7 climate club must support the multilateral climate process and must not undermine it,” said Axel Berger, interim head of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS). The effects on developing countries especially had to be taken into account.

Dennis Snower, president of the Global Solutions Initiative, emphasised that the ecological transformation had to strengthen social cohesion. “Just transition must not only be true for the coal exit. It must be the leading principle also for the establishment of a climate-friendly energy supply integrated in society,” he said.

The leading think tanks from the G7 countries form one of several G7 engagement groups with the task of feeding proposals into the G7 process. In 2022, they are led by the Global Solutions Initiative and IDOS, mandated by the chancellery.

25 Jun 2022, 12:23

Germany pushes for G7 reversal on fossil fuels in climate blow – Bloomberg

Germany is pushing for G7 nations to walk back a commitment that would halt the financing of overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022, reports Bloomberg. A draft text shared with the news agency would see the G7 “acknowledge that publicly supported investment in the gas sector is necessary as a temporary response to the current energy crisis.” The caveat in the proposal is that such funding is done “in a manner consistent with our climate objectives and without creating lock-in effects.” The UK reportedly opposes the proposal.

Germany was among several countries to sign the UK-led COP26 statement on clean energy, committing itself to ending public support for foreign fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. The pledge prohibits support “except in limited and clearly defined circumstances that are consistent with a 1.5°C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

With a slightly adapted wording under German leadership, the G7 climate and energy ministers agreed such a pledge one month ago (27 May). The communiqué of that meeting reads: “Recognising that advancing national security and geostrategic interests is crucial […] we commit to end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022, except in limited circumstances clearly defined by each country that are consistent with a 1.5 °C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Should G7 leaders agree the draft, “this would be a huge setback from the progress we made last month at the G-7 energy and environment ministers when we finally brought Japan, the last G-7 holdout, into the commitment to end such financial support for fossil fuels,” Alden Meyer, a senior associate at climate change think tank E3G told Bloomberg.

Just days earlier, chancellor Olaf Scholz’ plans to support Senegal in efforts to exploit fossil gas resources had come under fire for contradicting the COP26 pledge. Scholz at the time said that the “turn of an era" brought on by Russia’s war against Ukraine meant that “a new look” at the world had to be taken, indicating Germany might be backtracking on the pledge to end foreign fossil fuel financing.

25 Jun 2022, 10:36

“We won’t move mountains” at the summit – chancellor Scholz

German chancellor Olaf Scholz has said the G7 leaders must agree joint action to deal with the fallout of Russia’s war against Ukraine, such as rising energy prices, but sought to lower expectations in a video message posted on Twitter ahead of the three days of summit in Bavaria.

“Elmau is situated in the mountains. We will surely not move mountains, but we can take important decisions and prepare things which are useful to all of us,” said the chancellor. At the same time as dealing with Russia’s war, the G7 had to do their part to stop man-made climate change, said Scholz. “Because we will have to do this also by phasing out the use of fossil energies.”

25 Jun 2022, 09:00

War against Ukraine “absolutely dominant” at G7 summit, but climate also tops agenda – German chief negotiator

Russia’s war against Ukraine has become “absolutely dominant” for talks at the G7 leaders’ meeting in Bavaria on 26-28 June, but climate policy will also top the agenda, said Germany’s chief G7 negotiator Jörg Kukies in a government-produced podcast. Already in his former role as finance minister, now-chancellor Olaf Scholz had pushed the idea of a global, open and cooperative climate club as a way to work together to reach climate neutrality. “This will certainly also be a big topic at the summit,” he said. Kukies is the chancellor’s chief economic advisor and G7 and G20 sherpa. The sherpas are the personal representatives of the G7 or G20 heads of state and government. They are the lead negotiators and prepare the summit’s final joint communiqué. The word is derived from the Sherpa people, a Nepalese ethnic group, who serve as guides and porters in the Himalayas.

While the sherpas had prepared a lot in the run-up to the summit and the negotiations were “well-advanced” (the podcast is dated 23 June), some things are yet to be decided. “We expect the last agreements to be made at the summit,” said Kukies. “I am absolutely convinced that we will have a good, strong communiqué on the individual issues, which no one will question afterwards,” said Kukies. The comment refers to former U.S. president Donald Trump rejecting the final communiqué of the 2018 G7 leaders’ meeting in Canada.

The sherpas’ work will not finish with the summit in Elmau, said Kukies. “Right after we will start with preparations of the G20 sherpa meeting which will take place in Indonesia around 11 July.”

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