We Mean Business coalition calls on G7 to deliver just net-zero transition

A coalition of business leaders has written to G7 ministers ahead of a summit in Japan, calling on them to deliver key commitments to create low-carbon power grids by 2035 and phase out fossil fuels.

We Mean Business coalition calls on G7 to deliver just net-zero transition

The G7 are meeting in Japan next month

As the G7 prepares for a crucial summit in Hiroshima in Japan, the We Mean Business Coalition has written to world leaders, calling on them to deliver key climate commitments.

Citing the war in Ukraine, raising inflation, food and energy crises, extreme weather events and biodiversity loss, the business coalition warns that “people are suffering” and that the transition to net-zero and clean energy can improve both the economy and citizen wellbeing.

“As you prepare to meet in Hiroshima, we urge you to face the undeniable reality: our continued global reliance on fossil fuels is greatly exacerbating these crises and exposing us to unmanageable levels of risk,” the letter states. “This year’s G7 Summit is a unique opportunity to course-correct to a safer, healthier and more prosperous future.”

We Mean Business claims that the G7 can “help business go faster by facilitating investments in clean energy solutions” while also repurposing the $1trn spent on fossil fuel subsidies, noting that the climate crisis is currently expected to reduce global GDP by as much as 14%, or $23trn, by 2050.

We Mean Business, which accounts for more than 10,000 large and small companies when including its supporting networks, specifically asks that the G7 Summit commits to a “rapid and just energy transition away from fossil fuels” that is in line with the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement.

Last year, G7 nations agreed to raise ambitions to decarbonise energy grids, pledging to deliver low-carbon energy for citizens by 2035 and cut funding for fossil fuels.

Ministers have pledged to deliver “predominantly” low-carbon power grids, effectively decarbonising the electricity mix, by 2035.

The communique states that the new targets are “consistent with our 2030 NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions), our power sector transition commitments and our respective net-zero commitments, concrete and timely steps towards the goal of an eventual phase-out of domestic unabated coal power generation”.

In a big breakthrough in the bid to end fossil fuel generation, Japan, for the first time, promised to end subsidies for overseas fossil fuel projects. All G7 countries made that pledge, with a  deadline set for the end of 2022.

Reuters, however, reported that a draft version of the communique committed to deliver these fossil-fuel-free electricity networks by 2030. This was dropped from the final agreement, with a water-downed target of a “predominantly” carbon-neutral system instead introduced.

We Mean Business is calling on the G7 to deliver these commitments in full, including achieving fully decarbonised power systems by 2035 and phasing out domestic coal-fired power generation by 2030 at the latest. The G7 should also support other economies in phasing out fossil fuels by 2040 at the latest.

Alongside the phase-outs, We Mean Business argues that the G7 should “rapidly scale up” renewables and commit to 100% sales of zero emissions vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035 for new light-duty vehicles.

These policy measures would send clear signals to business on the speed and direction of travel, remove barriers and ensure the most effective and efficient private sector investment and transition pathways,” We Mean Business added.

At COP27, We Mean Business convened hundreds of the world’s largest businesses and civil society groups to deliver a joint declaration of action to world leaders. The declaration told delegates at COP27 that 1.5C is “a limit not a target”, and that negotiators should work with the private sector to avert the worst of the climate crisis.

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