G7 Agrees to Phase Out Coal-Fired Power Plants by Mid-2030s   

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G7 Agrees to Phase Out Coal-Fired Power Plants by Mid-2030s   

May 1: G7 energy and climate ministers agreed a time frame Tuesday for phasing out coal-fired power plants that are not equipped to capture emissions in a significant step towards curbing fossil fuel use.    
The Group of Seven two-day meeting in Turin is the first big political session since the world pledged at the UN's COP28 climate summit in December to transition away from coal, oil and gas.    
The G7 commits to "phase out existing unabated coal power generation in our energy systems during the first half of 2030s," the final statement read.    
However it left some wiggle room, saying nations could follow "a timeline consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach, in line with countries' net zero pathways".    
The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Negotiations over a fixed date were reportedly tricky, with Japan -- which relies heavily on coal -- reluctant to commit.    
The 2015 Paris Agreement saw countries agree to cap global warming at "well below" 2C above preindustrial times -- with a safer limit of 1.5C if possible.    
To keep the 1.5C limit in play, the UN's climate expert panel has said emissions need to be slashed almost in half this decade, but they continue to rise.    
France's Ecological Transition Minister Christophe Bechu said the commitment "shows the determination to implement the transition away from fossil fuels decided at COP28".    
Luca Bergamaschi from the Italian climate think tank ECCO said the G7 had taken a "decisive step forward" in translating the Dubai agreement into national policies.    
But the Climate Analytics policy institute said "2035 is too late".    
"Many of these countries have already publicly committed to phase out dates ahead of 2030, and only have a small amount of coal capacity anyway," Jane Ellis, head of climate policy, said in a statement.    
The G7 ministers also tackled the thorny issue of plastic pollution amid a heated debate over how to design a treaty addressing the scourge -- by reducing production or boosting recycling.    
The ministers said they "aspired" to reduce and if necessary restrain the global production of plastic".    
Plastic waste is now found everywhere from the summits of mountains to the ocean floor and in human blood and breast milk.    
The G7 "aspiration" comes as a fourth and penultimate round of UN-led negotiations to solve global plastic pollution wrapped up in Ottawa with a world-first pact said to be within reach by year's end -- but without a cap on the production of polymers. – AFP/RSS


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