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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.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.