Associate Press copy is provided via The Canadian Press
ELMAU, Germany (AP) — The Latest on the G-7 summit, the annual meeting of the leading democratic economies, which this year is being held in the Bavarian Alps in Germany; and on the summit of NATO leaders that will start on Tuesday in Madrid:
Leaders from the Group of Seven major economies and five key developing nations pledged Monday to work together to curb climate change while ensuring energy security for their citizens.
In a joint statement released by Germany, which chairs the G-7 this year, the leaders emphasized the need to accelerate a “clean and just energy transition” that would see an end to the burning of fossil fuels without causing a sharp rise in unemployment.
The statement cited an agreement last year between several rich nations and South Africa that would see the country receive help to end its heavy reliance on coal and ramp up the use of renewable energy. Similar partnerships are being discussed with other developing countries.
The statement’s cautious language — referring to the need to “phase down unabated coal” — reflects concerns particularly by India, one of the signatories, which also relies strongly on this heavily polluting fossil fuel.
Leaders also tentatively endorsed the idea of a global “climate club.” The notion, which is being championed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the G-7 summit in the Alpine resort of Elmau, would see countries that agree on ambitious pollution targets spared from climate-related trade tariffs.
A small group of demonstrators has been allowed to protest within sight of the Group of Seven summit venue — though not exactly close.
German authorities agreed to have police cars take 50 protesters through the high-security cordon to a site 500 meters (about 550 yards) from the luxury Schloss Elmau hotel. Courts rejected pleas by organizers to be allowed 200 meters (some 220 yards) closer.
At the site in a meadow in the Elmau valley, the protesters unrolled banners calling for “active resistance against the danger of a world war” and “climate protection instead of armament,” among other things.
Monday’s protest took place as the G-7 and guests from five major democratic emerging economies — India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa and Argentina — were discussing climate change among other issues.
President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have promised to do more to rein in climate-wrecking natural gas leaks as European imports of American liquefied natural gas soar as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
U.S. LNG exports to Europe have nearly tripled since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Overall LNG exports to Europe have risen by 75% since last year. That’s all as a result of Western boycotts and Russian cutoffs of Russian natural gas to Europe in the fallout from the war.
Climate groups warn the LNG boom threatens crucial efforts by the United States and Europe to quickly cut fossil fuel emissions to stave off some of the worst scenarios of global warming. Natural gas is largely methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas and major contributor to climate change.
In a joint statement, Biden and von der Leyen pledged to step up US-EU cooperation to reduce methane emissions, work to bring their LNG trade under standardized monitoring, reporting and verification for methane leaks, and work to reduce natural gas flaring and venting and other methane releases as part of their LNG use.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked G7 states for their support of Ukraine, while calling for further sanctions against Russia.
“Ukraine feels the support of the G7 states. Thank you for the defense and financial assistance,” Zelenskyy said on Telegram.
He also called on G7 allies to cap the price of Russian oil exports, describing the potential move as an increase in sanctions pressure on the Kremlin.
In a separate statement Monday, Ukraine’s presidential press service said Zelenskyy had asked G7 leaders for air missile defense systems, as Russia intensifies rocket attacks on cities.
The German government insists its plans to tap new sources of natural gas don’t undermine the country’s ambitious climate goals.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is promoting the idea of a ‘climate club’ at a meeting Monday with fellow leaders from the Group of Seven major economies and key developing nations such as Indonesia, South Africa and Argentina.
Speaking ahead of the talks, Scholz told German public broadcaster ZDF that the club would bring together those countries “that are willing to become CO2-neutral very quickly by mid-century.”
The idea, which is still being fleshed out, would see members set common standards for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and agree not to impose climate-related tariffs on each others’ imports.
Scholz described his own country’s target of reducing emissions to net zero by 2045 – the earliest of any major industrial nation – as “very ambitious.” But his government has been criticized by climate campaigners for seeking new suppliers of natural gas to replace the shortfall from Russia.
Government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner said new energy agreements being forged with Senegal, which including developing a natural gas field, were “in accordance” with Germany’s emissions targets and the 2015 Paris climate accord. But Buechner declined to comment on reports that Germany was pressing other nations to soften existing agreements on reducing fossil fuel investments, saying talks at the G-7 summit in the Alpine resort of Elmau were ongoing.
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