Elmau, 7 June, 2015 - To stay below the two degree climate target, the G7 countries will have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions quickly and significantly. This will only be possible if climate-harming coal-based power generation is reduced, as shown by Greenpeace at the beginning of today’s G7 summit . Based on the size of their populations, the G7 members only have about 60 billion tons of CO2 out of a total budget of 565 billion which they can release into the atmosphere until 2050 if global warming is to be kept under the two degree Celsius mark. Based on the member countries' latest annual emissions, the remaining 60 billion tons will be used up in less than seven years.
Greenpeace head of international climate politics, Martin Kaiser, said:
"If the G7 cares about the two degree target at all, then they will have to show us a roadmap for a coal phase-out by mid-century."
Between 1990 and 2013, the G7 group has reduced the share of coal in their energy mix by 8.2%. As a result, the 1.3% reduction of CO2 emissions between 1990 and 2012 was meagre. Recently, even China was able to show that emissions from coal-powered plants can be reduced rapidly. While the country was responsible for 50% of the increase of global CO2 emissions between 2000 ad 2010, energy-related emissions dropped for the first time by 1% in 2014. With a lowering of 5% this promising trend has continued in the first four months of this year. For years the G7 leaders hid their unambiguous climate targets behind China .
"For years the G7 has used China's climate protection paralysis as an excuse to do nothing, but now China is starting to reduce its emissions. The ball is now in the G7's court to get serious about rapidly getting rid of coal," said Kaiser.
Opposition against coal gets broader
Worldwide, more and more experts agree with climate science's assertion that large parts of coal and oil resources have to stay in the ground to keep global warming under the limit of 2 degrees. Only last Friday the Norwegian Parliament decided unanimously that the country's pension fund - one of the largest independent funds globally - will pull its investments out of companies that are doing business with fossil fuel energy. Companies such as the insurance group AXA, the Rockefeller Foundation or the Church of England have come to similar conclusions.
"The G7 could stymie any unified attempt at climate protection. The success of the summit in Elmau depends on Merkel and her six colleagues kick-starting the phase-out of coal," said Kaiser.
German Minister of Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel (SPD), proposed a fee that would curtail the oldest and dirtiest coal power plants. But Chancellor Merkel is keeping silent about this available solution.
"Without the Chancellor's clear commitment for tackling climate change, Merkel will not be in the position to demand more climate protection from her G7 partners in Elmau," added Kaiser.
Notes for editors:
 For G7 climate targets go here.
Tina Loffelbein, phone +49 151 167 209 15
Gregor Kessler, phone +49 151 727 029 18