Focus on energy transition tie-ups in attempt to combat climate crisis at G7 Summit in Germany

Ahead of the G7 summit in Germany to be held on June 26-28, there are expectations that leaders of the rich countries will explore partnerships with India and Indonesia so that they can transition away from coal for energy in their attempts to combat climate crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the G7 summit. He will be speaking in two sessions on issues related to environment, energy, climate, food security, health, gender equality and democracy, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. Modi will also hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the nations taking part in the summit.

On May 18, development ministers of the G7 met in Berlin, where they discussed the G7 summit agenda. A possibility of fostering just transition energy partnerships with certain developing countries was considered at the meeting, according to the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development.

“Another topic the G7 will discuss are Just Energy Transition Partnerships. The Partnerships are to mobilise high levels of private and public funding for specific investments in, for example, the socially equitable phasing out of coal, the increased use of renewable energy or the creation of new jobs in regions particularly affected by the energy transition,” the German ministry said in a statement on May 18.

Last year during the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, the governments of South Africa, France, Germany, the UK, and the US, along with the European Union had announced an ambitious, long-term just energy transition partnership to support South Africa’s decarbonisation efforts.

The partnership aimed to accelerate the decarbonisation of South Africa’s economy, with a focus on the electricity system, to help it achieve goals set out in its emissions goals shared with the UN. This plan may also be discussed at G7 to lay out the full picture of how the $8.5 billion fund for just transition will be used.

Support for just transition from coal will be critical for India. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) describes just transition to be a principle where the transition from a fossil fuel-based infrastructure to a sustainable infrastructure must be just and equitable for everyone, from miners and communities to land and resources.

Quantifying and laying down a just transition plan can help India demand a just transition fund for its people under climate finance. Large scale energy transition is likely to happen in India in the next 10-15 years, affecting 10-15 million livelihoods, according to the Just Transition Research Centre at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.

India will require a $223 billion investment to meet its wind and solar capacity goals for 2030, according to a report released last week by BloombergNEF, a research service.

At the Glasgow summit, Modi had announced a decarbonisation goal for India. Such ambitious action will be impossible without adequate climate finance from developed nations, Modi had said, calling on rich countries to make $1 trillion available as climate finance “as soon as possible”, without specifically mentioning just transition.

“Just energy transition partnership offers a unique opportunity to promote fair, inclusive, and climate resilient, sustainable development. Funding decarbonisation is a broad agenda, and the proposed G7 deal has the potential to help achieve the substantial commitments India has made on green energy,” Purnamita Dasgupta, professor at the Institute for Economic Growth said in a statement to Climate Trends, a Delhi-based climate communications organisation.

“Explicit and direct funding is a pressing requirement for phasing down coal and for rapid deployment of renewables, and the two are parallel pursuits,” Dasgupta said. “The World Bank commitment on funding India’s energy transition action plan, and the recent German pledge on financial and technical co-operation are just two of the multiple developments in recent months. The total amount and the instrument (mostly loans thus far) for financing are two most pressing considerations.”

“The JETP is a very positive development and clearly the right move to break the stalemate on climate finance at multilateral platforms,” said Vaibhav Chaturvedi, fellow at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a think tank. “As far as India’s strategy should go, we should have explored such bilateral or plurilateral arrangements with a select group of rich countries, who would be ready to financially support India’s transition.”

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