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Keeping you in-the-know on environmental, social and governance developments

Last month, the G7 met in Italy where the meeting focused heavily on climate change – including discussions surrounding biodiversity loss, energy efficiency, and global moves towards net-zero. The biggest news of the meeting was an agreement to phase out unabated coal power production by the year 2035. While some are counting the coal phase out as a win, others are questioning its timeliness and the effectiveness of the G7 policy position. A recent discussion of the plan and its detractors published by edie states:

“While several environmental organisations have welcomed the announcement, they have expressed disappointment with its emphasis solely on coal, highlighting the importance of phasing out all fossil fuels to effectively mitigate carbon emissions at the necessary scale. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 1.5C-aligned pathway to a global net-zero energy system by 2050 includes an immediate halt to all upstream oil and gas projects with long lead times.”

The plan also allows for continued power production using coal if the emissions generated can be captured (similar to the new EPA rule on coal plants). However, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for coal power plants is a technology that is still in its infancy and is not currently scalable. Additionally, the G7 only consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US. Without the inclusion and cooperation of major coal-burning countries like China, it’s unclear if the effects of the plan will be substantial. The plan notably does not ban energy production from other fossil fuels and while coal will be phased out by 2035, there are still plenty of high-emitting fuels that are not subject to the plan. Overall it seems like the plan is a step in the right direction, but only addresses one piece of the larger issue.

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The Editor

Zachary Barlow is a licensed attorney. He earned his JD from the University of Mississippi and has a bachelor’s in Public Policy Leadership. He practiced law at a mid-size firm and handled a wide variety of cases. During this time he assisted in overseeing compliance of a public entity and litigated contract disputes, gaining experience both in and outside of the courtroom. Zachary currently assists the editorial team by providing research and creating content on a spectrum of ESG… View Profile