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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 33 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.