Fossil Fuel Use Must Plummet By 2050, End By 2100: G7 Meeting


G7 leaders in Krun, Germany. White House photo by Pete Souza.

G7 leaders in Krun, Germany. White House photo by Pete Souza.

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This past week, the Group of Seven (G7) world leaders met in Germany for the group's 41st annual summit.

Needless to say, much was discussed, from the threat of international terrorism to the stability of national economies and, of course, climate change.

In relation to that final point, the leaders made an ambitious declaration.

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The group's members will use their collective influence to try to stop fossil-fuel consumption by the end of this century.

A goal of reducing consumption by 40 to 70 percent from 2010 levels by 2050, and eliminating it completely by 2100, was set in the summit declaration.

The G7 comprises the world's seven largest economies--including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S., and U.K.--as well as representatives from the European Council, EU Commission, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ferrari 458 Spider exhaust

Ferrari 458 Spider exhaust

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To help achieve the goal of gradually reducing fossil-fuel use, the G7 declaration called for an end to fossil-fuel subsidies and investments to encourage use of renewable energy in developing countries.

The larger contingent of G20 nations agreed in principle to begin phasing out fossil-fuel subsidies in 2013, but so far little action has been taken toward making that happen.

ALSO SEE: IMF: Fossil Fuels Subsidies Are $5.3 Trillion A Year If Climate Costs Included

In the meantime, the International Monetary Fund claims these subsidies are costing world governments $5.3 trillion per year--when costs related to climate change are factored in.

That includes costs related to the health effects of air pollution and destruction caused by natural disasters, as well as the cost of subsidizing production itself.

The IMF estimates that eliminating subsidies would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent, and free up significant economic resources.

G7 leaders also expect to adopt a new framework for combating climate change as part of a major United Nations climate-change summit in Paris this December.

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Individual countries are expected to submit "Intended Nationally Determined Contribution" (INDC) plans outlining how they will reduce emissions within their borders.

The U.N. asked more than 190 countries to submit INDCs by March 31, but most missed that deadline.

The Paris summit will likely be the next major international forum for determining energy policy, while the G7 will meet again next year in Japan.

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