We Mean Business Coalition statement on the G7 Summit 2022MARIA MENDILUCE, CEO, WE MEAN BUSINESS COALITION
G7 leaders had a chance this week to provide solutions to the current energy and climate crisis. Their failure to provide concrete steps to accelerate clean energy is a huge, missed opportunity. Our research has just shown that a rapid transition to clean energy would bring massive household savings and millions of new jobs in the G7 and beyond. Such policies would also go a long way towards cutting emissions in half by 2030, keeping temperature rise to 1.5C and avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
The G7 Communique shows a patchwork approach that failed to live up to the promise made just a few months ago at COP26. Leaders of the world’s richest nations are not delivering the clear and consistent policy signals that business is calling for to enable the fastest possible transition to the sustainable, more secure, clean energy future that the world desperately needs.
The G7 reaffirmed the commitments made by Ministers earlier in the year, for example, to decarbonize power systems by 2035 and phase out coal. However, this needs to be matched with investment timelines plans and immediate policy implementation. Business is calling for the interim policies required to achieve this goal like delivering 70% renewable power and coal phase out by 2030.
And yet, whilst making the right noises about the urgency of the climate crisis and commitments to the Paris Agreement, G7 leaders are sending contradictory messages.
Emergency measures to meet short-term energy needs and replace Russian gas with other sources are essential but must not sacrifice our climate commitments. These emergency measures cannot lock us into new fossil fuel infrastructure that will prevent us from meeting the 1.5C objective.
The simple truth is we are running out of time. G7 leaders did not come with the concrete actions and resources necessary to accelerate the energy transition. Accelerating investment in innovative technologies, increasing energy efficiency, investing in reskilling programs, scaling up heat pump technology or improving the permit process for renewables are some of the actions G7 leaders need to make just as a key part of the emergency response to the energy crisis.
There were some signs of bold thinking and innovation coming from Bavaria. The discussions on Just Transition Energy Partnerships with key countries beyond the G7 group, including India and Indonesia, are welcome. Investing in the communities that have done the least to cause the climate crisis, whilst helping accelerate the take-up of clean energy in markets worldwide, is precisely where rich countries should be directing their support. The Climate Club concept, linking trade and emissions reduction efforts also presents a welcome new approach.
The G7 leaders welcomed the International Sustainability Standards Board which is a strong signal to all reporting standards to refer to the ISSB as the global baseline. This will mean companies can report just once, in a way that is transparent and robust, and will accurately indicate to investors where the most sustainable investment options lie.
Businesses are asking for clear direction and leadership from governments, along with consistent approaches to unleash the potential innovation and investment for the energy transition. Countries will now have to take the lead in upgrading their emission reduction plans ahead of COP27. Their citizens and their companies are demanding this. With power comes responsibility.