Tension in the G7 Summit Lunchroom

Johnny Wentzel
Courtesy of Dave Cheney

After the latest G7 meeting, it’s apparent that the group has more cliques than a high school cafeteria, and it’s anything but fetch.

What happened: The G7 group of nations met over the weekend in Hiroshima, Japan, to discuss everything from the war in Ukraine and economic security, to (probably) Beyonce’s new Malibu mansion. But ultimately, it was the discussions on climate change that stole the show.

In an extremely TLDR communique that only a collection of governments could muster, the group mentioned the importance of a fully—or almost fully—decarbonized power sector by 2035, as well as “urgency” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030 and by 60 percent by 2035.

Where things took a turn

The biggest news from the weekend surrounded natural gas and coal use. Germany was reported to have led the charge on calling for increased deliveries of liquified natural gas, albeit on a temporary basis. Meanwhile, Japan was the primary holdout on setting a phase-out date for coal-burning power plants.

  • To be fair, both Germany and Japan are a little twitchy when it comes to energy security in light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Zoom out: Critics aren’t buying it. Ending the weekend without a deadline for the phase-out of new coal-powered plants is seen as a “missed opportunity” by climate activists and that Germany and Japan are “stuck in panic mode”.

We’ll have to wait until the next summit to see if anyone is left sitting alone.