G7 leaders to aim for carbon-free economy by end of century

The leading G7 industrial countries have today agreed to phase out fossil fuel use by the end of the century, and have backed plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the upper end of 40%-70% by 2050.

The news comes on the final day of the two-day summit held in Bavaria, Germany, and ended with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that the seven leaders had "committed themselves to the need to decarbonizes the global economy in the course of this century".

G7 host Merkel remarked that the leading industrial nations – which includes the U.S., Germany, Japan, the U.K., France, Canada and Italy – had committed to pouring $100 billion into annual climate financing by 2020 using monies both public and private, and have agreed to the UN’s climate change panel target of reducing greenhouse gases based on 2010 output.

"We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term, including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050, and invite all countries to join us in this endeavor," said a communiqué issued by the G7.

A further backing came in the approval of global targets limiting the increase in average global temperatures to just 2c – something outlined as a key objective last week by British scientists who announced their own Global Apollo clean energy program.

Sam Smith, leader of the WWF Global Climate Energy Initiative, told Reuters that he was luke-warm on the announcement. "They’ve given important political signals, but they could have done more, particularly by making concrete national commitments for immediate action. We had hoped for more commitments on what they would do right now."