The Group of Seven (G7) countries call on the need to ensure energy security through actions including natural gas investments, calling it a "temporary" step as they accelerate the phase-out of our dependency on Russian energy.
The Climate and Environment Ministers of the G7, despite disagreements between Japan and European nation, eventually agreed in April that gas investments "can be appropriate to help address potential market shortfalls" after Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the resulting disruption in global energy markets.
The G7 Hiroshima Leaders’ Communique changed the language, eventually formulated by Germany, to include gas investments again, according to sources.
"We stress the important role that increased deliveries of LNG (liquefied natural gas) can play and acknowledge that investment in the sector can be appropriate in response to the current crisis and to address potential gas market shortfalls provoked by the crisis,” the statement said.
"Faced with the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels, what leaders have brought to the table represents an endorsement of new fossil gas," said Tracy Carty, a global climate politics expert at Greenpeace International, in a statement.
Defending the stance
Germany rejected that criticism. "We also need some new gas power stations, but they should be built in a way that they can run on green hydrogen later on as well. So it is an investment in the clean future as well," a German government official said.
Japan considers liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transition fuel towards a greener economy, while Germany, once Moscow's top gas buyer, has had to ramp up its investment in gas infrastructure after Russia-Ukraine conflicts result in gas shortages.
"In the exceptional circumstance of accelerating the phase-out of our dependency on Russian energy, publicly supported investment in the gas sector can be appropriate as a temporary response," Saturday's communique said.
The document did not clarify what "temporary" meant but suggested that investments should be in line with climate objectives and integrated into the development of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen.
Reaffirming commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050
The G7 is committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The G7 nations on May 20 restated their commitment to significantly reducing carbon emissions in the transportation sector by 2030 and committed to the goal of achieving a net-zero fleet by 2050.
A G7 statement highlighted various actions taken by countries, including policies for achieving 100% or the overwhelming penetration of sales of zero-emission vehicles in the light-duty vehicle (LDV) category by 2035 and beyond.