G7 nations commit to ending ‘inefficient’ fossil fuel subsidies by 2025

Plans to drive a low-carbon transition as part of the recent Paris Agreement have been given a timely boost, after the G7 nations agreed a landmark deal to end the majority of fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.

Attending the Ise-Shima summit in Japan, the leaders of the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union (EU) wrote a joint declaration of their intentions to “accelerate [their] work towards the transition to an energy system that enables a decarbonisation of the global economy”.

In order to enable the shift, the G7 nations have vowed to eliminate “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” by 2025 and have encouraged the remaining countries that signed the Paris Agreement to implement the same measures within the same timeframe.

In the declaration, the G7 leaders said: “Given the fact that energy production and use account for around two-thirds of global GHG emissions, we recognise the crucial role that the energy sector has to play in combating climate change. We remain committed to the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and encourage all countries to do so by 2025.”

With G20 Governments collectively handing out $452bn in subsidies for fossil fuels – more than four times the allocated amount for renewables – over the last two years, the G7’s pledge could play a big role in “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.

Alongside the subsidy pledge – one that could cut global emissions by 12% – the G7 also committed to the “transparent and robust” implementation of their collective nationally determined contributions (NDCs), while also working to mobilise $100bn in climate finance.

Mile high hopes

With carbon emissions from the aviation and maritime sector expected to rise 250% by 2050 without an international standard, the G7 also used the Japan Summit to call for “urgent and effective” efforts to introduce carbon neutral growth within the aviation sector from 2020.

“Recognising the urgent need for effective efforts in the field of international aviation, we express our strong commitment to work together for the adoption of a Global Market-Based Measure (GMBM) in order to enable carbon neutral growth from 2020, through engaging constructive dialogue, by reaching a decision at the 39th session of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly,” the declaration said. “We encourage all world leaders to join us in supporting a decision later this year.”

While the ICAO is expected to announce an international standard at some point this year, a failure to introduce any meaningful pledges at a recent Montreal Summit has hampered carbon reductions within the sector.

Despite the lack of policy support, the private sector has introduced tentative steps to lower emissions through a variety of innovative measures. NASA claims that America’s aviation industry could reduce pollutant emissions by 75% by incorporating refined green technologies.

While FedEx continues to pioneer the use of sustainable aviation fuels, both Airbus and Boeing have introduced new hybrid initiatives aimed at promoting sustainability within the sector.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie