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Germany sees chance of fossil fuel phase-out deal at Cop28

G7 ministers met for climate talks in Sapporo, Japan, on April 15 and 16 Kyodo via Reuters
G7 ministers met for climate talks in Sapporo, Japan, on April 15 and 16

Germany sees “a chance” that a deal to accelerate phasing out fossil fuels – similar to the one reached over the weekend by the Group of Seven rich nations – could be agreed at this year’s UN climate summit in Dubai, a senior government official has said.

In the joint statement at their meeting in the Japanese city of Sapporo, G7 energy and climate ministers agreed “to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels so as to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050 at the latest”.

The German official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he believed there was “a chance” to reach a similar deal at Cop28, to be hosted by the UAE from November 30.

“In the Gulf region, they [the UAE] are the country that is most going into the transition. They are sitting on oil and gas, but they know they need to go into the future with renewables in order to still have a business case in 30 years,” he said.

The German economy ministry, which also oversees climate policy, was not immediately available for comment.

The G7 also set big new collective targets for solar power and offshore wind capacity, agreeing to speed up renewable energy development, part of a wider push to address the energy crisis provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE minister of industry and advanced technology and the president of Cop28, participated in the Sapporo summit, telling a closed session that renewable capacity needs to be tripled by 2030 and increased six-fold by 2040, according to his remarks seen by Reuters.

The German official also said on Tuesday that the G7 deal on the gas sector allows upstream investments but does not welcome them. Japan wants to keep liquefied natural gas as a transition fuel.

“The language [of the communiqué] does not preclude upstream investment, so if Japan or others do that, then there is no G7 condemning of it, but on the other hand, that we are not calling for it,” the official said.

The G7 said investment in the gas sector “can be appropriate” to address potential market shortfalls provoked by the energy crisis, if implemented in a manner consistent with climate objectives.

There are already a lot of investments in the gas sector, the official added, “probably already too much – and there is no more needed because gas demand is now flat”.