20 Jun 2022, 12:16
Julian Wettengel

Replacing Russian gas to play “enormous role” at leaders’ summits – govt official

Clean Energy Wire

The question of how to replace natural gas supply from Russia will play an “enormous role” at upcoming leaders’ summits of the European Union, the G7 and NATO, said a German government official in Berlin. The issue will, for example, be discussed in connection with the idea to establish a “climate club” at the G7 summit that takes place in Schloss Elmau at the end of the week. “The fundamental question of how we can achieve a cooperative model for climate neutrality plays a major role, especially now in view of the development of energy prices and the negative impact of excessive dependence on fossil fuels,” said the official. Germany aims to take a leadership role on climate among the G7, but also to “do our homework” domestically, said the official. Policies, such as plans to have 80 percent renewable power by 2030, show that “we don’t just talk about climate, we act on climate”.

Germany currently holds the G7 presidency and plans to push forward so-called “just energy transition partnerships” (JetP) at the summit in Bavaria on 26-28 June to help emerging and developing nations move away from fossil fuels. The official said such partnerships are planned for Senegal, Indonesia, India and Vietnam. It is important to make progress on these at the summit, also because they are an “integral part” of the climate club idea to show its inclusiveness and openness, the official said. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has pushed the idea of a club of ambitious countries since he was finance minister in the previous government. The climate club talks will revolve around three pillars: carbon pricing, industry decarbonisation and the JetPs. While the government expects progress on all pillars, it does not expect an official launch of the climate club, as there are many open questions.

The German government’s G7 agenda has been thrown off course by Russia’s war against Ukraine, but Chancellor Scholz said he was determined to keep climate policy as a top priority for the Bavaria summit of the seven large economies. 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.

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