At the G7 Summit in Cornwall, England in June 2021, the leaders of Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – plus the European Union – committed to reach “an overwhelmingly decarbonised” power system in the 2030s and net zero emissions across their economies no later than 2050.
Under the UK Presidency, the G7 issued a communiqué in which it set out its net zero commitments and called on all countries, in particular major emitting economies, “to join us in these goals as part of a global effort.” The document acknowledged the guidance provided in the IEA’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050, which had been released on 18 May. The report was the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system globally by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.
“I’m very proud to see recognition of the IEA’s comprehensive Roadmap for the global energy sector to reach this critical and formidable goal,” said the Agency’s Executive Director Dr Fatih Birol in response to the communiqué. “The IEA looks forward to helping governments design and implement the strong policy actions that are needed to move the world onto a narrow yet achievable pathway to net zero by 2050. In the lead-up to COP26 in November, I look forward to seeing additional firm commitments to improve and increase clean energy financing for developing economies.”
In support of the G7’s decarbonisation pledge and to inform discussions at the UN’s COP26 Climate Change Conference, for which the UK also held the presidency in 2022, the IEA published a second report, Achieving Net Zero Electricity Sectors in G7 Members, in November. The pathway laid out in the underscores how the G7 can serve as first movers, jump-starting innovation and lowering the cost of technologies for other countries while maintaining electricity security and placing people at the centre of energy transitions.
“G7 members have the financial and technological means to bring their electricity sector emissions to net zero in the 2030s, and doing so will create numerous spill-over benefits for other countries’ clean energy transitions and add momentum to global efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050,” said Dr Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “G7 leadership in this crucial endeavour would demonstrate that getting to electricity sectors with net zero emissions is both doable and advantageous, and would also drive new innovations that can benefit businesses and consumers.”
“In this critical year of climate action ahead of COP26, I welcome this report, which sets out a roadmap for the G7 to meet the commitment, made earlier this year, to accelerate the transition from coal to clean power,” said COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma. “The report also highlights the huge jobs and growth opportunities that this decade could bring, from scaling-up renewables and improving energy efficiency to driving digital solutions and deploying critical technologies.”