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Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

G7 environment ministers have pledged to move toward the "absolute end" to financing international development of coal-fired power plants by the end of this year.

Why it matters: Their joint communique Friday is a stark statement about how they view the future of the world's most carbon-intensive fuel.

The big picture: Here are a few takeaways from the coal pledge...

  • It's most relevant to Japan, which per the climate think tank E3G and other advocates is the world's second-largest international funder of coal plants.
  • "Japan should start by funding clean energy projects in Bangladesh and Indonesia instead of the two coal power projects currently under consideration," said E3G's Chris Littlecott in emailed comments to reporters.
  • It could boost pressure on China, which is the top global financier of coal-fired facilities.
  • "This would really isolate China as the global lender of last resort for coal, which is not exactly an envious place to be in the run up to the next COP in Glasgow," said Justin Guay of the Sunrise Project, referring to the big United Nations climate summit in November.
  • The statement keeps the door open to carbon capture tech. It applies to "unabated" coal plants, that is, plants not equipped with CO2 capture, which has seen very little commercial deployment in the power sector thus far.
Expand chart
Data: IEA; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The chart above comes from last week's International Energy Agency report that lays out a "narrow but still achievable" path to reaching net-zero global emissions by 2050.

What's next: "The strongly worded statement sets the stage for more climate pledges when G7 country leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden, meet in Cornwall next month," the Financial Times reports.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Aug 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer's high-stakes climate play

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It's just over two months until a pivotal United Nations climate summit, and if Capitol Hill's importance to the equation wasn't already clear, it sure is now.

Catch up fast: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer released an analysis showing the Democrats-only reconciliation plan — and to a much lesser degree the bipartisan infrastructure deal — would essentially put the U.S. on track to meet President Biden's pledge under the Paris Agreement.

Biden expresses "great confidence" in top general after Woodward report

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday expressed "great confidence" in Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley after a new book said the general secretly assured his Chinese counterpart that President Trump had no plans to launch an attack.

The big picture: Details emerged that Milley told his Chinese counterpart that if Trump did decide to attack, Milley would give him a heads up, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

FBI apologizes to the U.S. gymnasts abused by Larry Nassar

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, from left, Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, and Collegiate gymnast Maggie Nichols arrive for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FBI director Christopher Wray on Wednesday apologized to U.S. gymnasts abused by Olympic Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar for agency's mishandling of the investigation.

Driving the news: Wray made the comments after four gymnasts — McKayla Maroney, Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols — testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and detailed how the FBI mishandled their reports.