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U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pose prior to Friday's pledge in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Odd Andersen via Getty Images

G7 countries on Friday agreed to stop all new financing of international coal projects by the end of the year in an effort to meet global climate change targets.

Why it matters: "Coal mining has come under pressure this week after the International Energy Agency said that no new coal mines should be needed if the world is to cut emissions to net zero by 2050," the Financial Times noted.

  • "The G7 countries [on Friday] also pledged to make 'accelerated efforts' to limit global warming to 1.5C [2.7 degrees Fahrenheit] relative to pre-industrial times — a major shift from previous statements that focused on limiting warming to 2C, a slightly easier target," FT added.
  • The G7 includes the United States, France, Germany, Canada, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom.

What they're saying: "Recognising that coal power generation is the single biggest cause of global temperature increases, we commit now to rapidly scale-up technologies and policies that further accelerate the transition away from unabated coal capacity," the G7 environment and climate ministers, including U.S. special climate envoy John Kerry, said Friday.

  • "Consistent with this overall approach and recognising that continued global investment in unabated coal power generation is incompatible with keeping 1.5°C within reach, we stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now," the communique added.
  • "[W]e will phase out new direct government support for carbon intensive international fossil fuel energy, except in limited circumstances at the discretion of each country, in a manner that is consistent with an ambitious, clearly defined pathway towards climate neutrality in order to keep 1.5°C within reach..."

The UK's Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 climate summit tweeted: "Today the @G7 has taken a major step towards a net zero economy by agreeing to phase out international fossil fuel finance, starting with coal."

  • "This is a clear signal to the world that coal is on the way out," he added.

The big picture: Despite concern that Japan, a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas, may not support a pledge to end international coal financing, Kerry on Friday noted the "work that we did with Japan, and Japan's important steps and important effort to find unity on the road ahead," per FT.

  • With Japan's agreement, countries that continue to back coal, including China, "are increasingly isolated and could face more pressure to stop," Reuters writes.
  • The G7 climate ministers "failed to reach any concrete agreement on climate-related aid to developing countries, which is shaping up to be one of the thorniest issues at the UN COP26 summit in November," FT noted.

What to watch: G7 leaders are set to meet in the UK next month.

Go deeper: U.S. and China agree to take joint climate action

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 25, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Schumer: Budget plan key to meeting U.S. goals under the Paris deal

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats' spending and tax plan and the bipartisan infrastructure package would together cut greenhouse gas emissions almost enough to meet the U.S. pledge under the Paris Agreement, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Driving the news: Schumer, in a new letter to Senate colleagues, said his office's analysis of the two proposals shows they would put the U.S. on track to cut emissions around 45% below 2005 levels by 2030.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.