Climate activists call out G7 leaders for supporting further natural gas extraction

Hiroshima, Japan - Climate activists have called out G7 leaders for declaring their support for further investments in natural gas extraction at their summit in Japan.

World leaders meet during the G7 leadership summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on May 21, 2023.
World leaders meet during the G7 leadership summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on May 21, 2023.  © REUTERS

Leaders of the G7 nations, which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the United States, issued a communiqué stating, "While Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine impacts energy markets and supply chains globally, our goal to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 at the latest remains unchanged."

But the statement went on to "stress the important role that increased deliveries of LNG can play, and acknowledge that investment in the sector can be appropriate in response to the current crisis and to address potential gas market shortfalls provoked by the crisis."

"In the exceptional circumstance of accelerating the phase-out of our dependency on Russian energy, publicly supported investment in the gas sector can be appropriate as a temporary response, subject to clearly defined national circumstances, if implemented in a manner consistent with our climate objectives without creating lock-in effects."

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Though the G7 nations say they remain committed to the "phaseout of unabated fossil fuels," many fear their endorsement of LNG will severely hamper efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C, as stipulated in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Climate activists react to G7 leaders' endorsement of liquified natural gas

Protesters march to the White House demanding an end to US investment in fossil fuels.
Protesters march to the White House demanding an end to US investment in fossil fuels.  © Samuel Corum / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The announcement that G7 countries plan to continue investing in natural gas extraction has climate activists in an uproar.

"Energy security can only be achieved by rapidly and equitably phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy, not locking in deadly fossil fuels and lining the pockets of oil and gas executives," Collin Rees, United States program manager at Oil Change International, said in a statement. "History will not look kindly on world leaders who accelerate the pace of fossil fuel buildout in the face of worsening climate crisis."

Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at Oxfam, accused the G7 leaders of "using the war [in Ukraine] as an excuse" to continue fossil fuel extraction.

"The G7 must stop using fossil fuels immediately – the planet is on fire," he added.

Climate scientists around the world have made clear that a swift transition to renewable energy sources is necessary to mitigate the worst effects of the global climate emergency.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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