By Celine Lai
The Group of Seven or G7 is an international, political organisation made up of the world’s seven largest economies.
It was created in 1973 and its leaders gathered for the first time in 1975. The summit is an avenue for the major world powers to tackle the most pressing issues.
The annual meeting, which includes the political leaders of each member country, is the highlight of the G7 calendar.
Australia has been left isolated after G7 leaders at the June 2021 summit pledged to end support for coal-fired power stations.
SBS has reported that a joint statement from leaders at the G7 summit states that continued global investment in unabated coal power generation is incompatible with keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The statement has made it more difficult for the Australian prime minister to continue resisting calls to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The climate statement is likely to enrage strident coal supporters in the Liberal and National parties. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said “We will decide what’s best for Australia in Australia’s national interest.” McCormack, current leader of the National Party, said about the coal industry:
“It pays for a lot of hospitals. It pays for a lot of schools. It pays for a lot of barista machines that produce the coffee that the inner city types sit around drinking and talking about the death of coal.”
According to SBS, the Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, has said that the prime minister needs to explain why money was being spent on a feasibility study for a new coal-fired power station in Queensland.
Beyond Zero Emissions has a plan to create 1.8 million jobs across Australia, utilizing Australia’s plentiful renewable energy sources.
The Australian government’s rhetoric about expansion of coal and gas being essential in the long-term, for the economy, and their claim that their technology road-map is enough to ensure that a sufficient amount of carbon emissions will be captured, cannot last for much longer.
And insults, like the extreme generalization made by McCormack, aimed at the very people that the Federal government claims to represent, won’t go down well with the public, who are not as ignorant as the Morrison government thinks they are.
The Prime Minister’s Joint Declaration of Intent (JDOI) with Germany to fast-track hydrogen co-operation between the two countries can’t cover his obfuscation on committing to a 2050 deadline for achieving net-zero emissions.
Technologies that support decarbonization include wind turbines, solar photovoltaics, electric vehicles, energy storage, metal recycling, hydrogen fuel cells, and carbon capture and storage. McKinsey reports that:
Decarbonization of the power sector would mean taking net GHG emissions to zero, implying an almost complete reduction in the combustion of coal
McKinsey states that as the global electrification of industries continues, electric vehicles and batteries will create growth markets for cobalt, lithium, and nickel. Emerging technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and carbon capture would boost demand for platinum, palladium, and other catalyst materials, while rare earths would be needed for wind-turbine magnets.
On another note, Sir David Attenborough, in a pre-recorded video address to the G7 summit, pressed leaders to show the ‘global will’ to tackle climate change.
“Our scientific collaboration on COVID-19 and vaccines show just how much can be achieved when the goal is clear and urgent. We know in detail what is happening to our planet and many of the things that we need to do this decade. Tackling climate change is now a political and communications challenge as much as it is a scientific or technological one.”
We have the skills to address it in time. All we need is the global will to do so.