G7 calls for end to fossil fuel use by 2100

G7 leaders are committed to a goal of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel says.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the Group of Seven wealthy democracies have agreed that the world should phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of this century.

Ms. Merkel said on Monday that the G7 leaders committed themselves to the need to “decarbonise the global economy in the course of this century.”

That is a technical term for ending the use of oil, gas and coal but not nuclear power and replacing them with alternative sources of energy such as wind and solar power.

Ms. Merkel had pressed for the G7 to agree on the goal so it can be put forward at a summit on climate change later this year in Paris. Burning carbon-based fuels such as oil and gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which is blamed for global warming.

Sanctions against Russia to stay until truce holds

Ms. Merkel says the G7 has agreed that sanctions against Russia must remain in place until a ceasefire deal for eastern Ukraine is fully respected.

Ms. Merkel, closing the two-day summit in southern Germany, said on Monday that the G7 was ready to step up the sanctions later if the situation called for it.

The European Union and the United States have imposed economic sanctions on Russia over its conflict with Ukraine. A ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk has been shaky, with the heaviest fighting in months breaking out in recent days between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces.

After spending much of the first day talking about Ukraine, leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies shifted their focus on Monday to global issues including climate change, terrorism and the threat from diseases such as Ebola.

Ms. Merkel aimed to get backing for a strong agreement on cutting back carbon-based fuels and renewing commitments to limit global warming to a 2°C rise in temperatures, as well as providing $100 billion in aid to poor countries dealing with the impact of climate change.

An agreement among the G7 would send a strong signal to the upcoming climate change conference in Paris later this year.

But Japan and Canada, in particular, have been less enthusiastic about the kind of strong agreement hoped for by Ms. Merkel, who has been labeled the “climate chancellor” in Germany.

The G7 which used to be the G8 until >Russia was excluded in 2014 over its actions in Ukraine also opened its doors to guest speakers from international organizations and developing countries Monday.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim and were on hand to brief leaders on global programs to combat poverty and disease.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, meanwhile, offered his country’s views on the fight against the Islamic State group.

The G7 planned to return briefly to the situation in Ukraine, specifically the country’s dire economic state, in a discussion with International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

The summit was scheduled to wrap up in the early afternoon.

Protesters, who were kept far from the conference venue, staged a final rally nearby Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Monday morning. Police said the event was peaceful.

Obama, Hollande agree on Ukraine, Iran nukes

The White House says President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande are in agreement on some of the world’s vexing problems, including Russia’s actions in Ukraine and keeping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The leaders met on Monday on the sidelines of a summit of the Group of Seven leading democracies being held in Elmau, Germany.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Hollande agreed that economic sanctions against Russia should stay in place until Russia fully implements terms of a peace accord with Ukraine that was negotiated in 2014 and has been repeatedly violated. They also agreed to stay united in pursuit of a deal with several other world powers to restrict Iran’s nuclear programme.

France at times has taken a harder line and expressed more scepticism than Washington on the Iran talks.

The White House says the leaders also discussed climate change, trade, countering Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, and instability in Libya.

Greenpeace sends laser message

Activists have had a hard time sending their message to the G7 leaders, who are tucked away in a secluded Alpine valley guarded by thousands of police.

So Greenpeace decided on Monday to project its demands onto a nearby mountain.

The environmental group used green lasers to beam the words “G7: Go for 100 per cent renewables” onto the side of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak.

Greenpeace climate policy chief Martin Kaiser said he hopes German Chancellor Angela Merkel will manage to convince climate holdouts such as Japan’s Shinzo Abe to drastically cut down on carbon emissions in the coming decades.

Iraq, African leaders join meeting

The G7 has opened its exclusive circle to meet with the leaders of Iraq and several African nations, along with the heads of various international organisations.

Key topics of discussion include the threat from terrorism and deadly diseases.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Arabi will brief leaders on Monday on his country’s fight against the Islamic State group, while African countries will talk about their efforts to stop the spread of Ebola.

The so-called “outreach” format also ensures that developing countries’ views are heard on global issues such as plans to rein in global warming.

Beer served to Obama non-alcoholic

Mystery solved: the mayor of the village where Mr. Obama was served a pre-lunchtime beer says it was alcohol-free.

Ms. Merkel welcomed Mr. Obama to Kruen, near the G7 summit venue, a few hours before the meeting began on Sunday. It wasn’t yet noon, but the President was served local delicacies including a tall glass of beer.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Sunday he didn’t know what kind of beer Mr. Obama was served but he was confident the President didn’t order a non-alcoholic version.

Kruen Mayor Thomas Schwarzenberger told news agency DPA on Monday that German and U.S. officials had asked that the guests be given only alcohol-free beer, so that’s what Mr. Obama, Ms. Merkel and her husband, Joachim Sauer, were given.

Terror, climate change on agenda

G7 leaders are searching for a common stance on climate change on the second and final day of their summit in southeastern Germany.

Ms. Merkel is seeking agreement on eventually moving away from the use of carbon-based fossil fuels and an endorsement of goals to limit the long-term rise in global temperatures and provide financing to help countries deal with the impact of climate change. Her idea is to forge a united front going into a conference on climate change in Paris later this year.

Leaders at the annual meeting will also hold discussions Monday on combating terrorism. The G7 consists of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.

Nothing new in tough G7 line: Russia

Russia said on Monday it saw nothing new in the tough line taken by G7 leaders on Moscow over sanctions and suggested there were differences among its member states.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and European Council President Donald Tusk said they hoped the G7 would present a united front on sanctions towards Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

“Yes, we paid attention to the latest declarations on sanctions. These are not new theses,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“We also drew attention to the fact that among the participants of this meeting there are nuances in their approaches. Some talk about the need for dialogue with Russia and the impossibility of solving serious problems without this dialogue, so we continue watching closely.”

European Union leaders agreed in March that its sanctions on Moscow over its role in Ukraine would stay until a ceasefire agreement reached in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on February 12 is fully implemented, but a formal decision has yet to be taken.

Russia, which annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in March 2014, denies providing pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine with weapons and soldiers.

Mr. Peskov said the G7 should be aware which side must carry out its obligations under the Minsk agreement — implying Kiev.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking separately on Monday, urged Western powers to ensure that Kiev meets its obligations under the agreement, which include pulling back heavy weapons and allowing more autonomy in regions held by the separatists.

“We proceed from the fact that Germany and France, other colleagues in the EU and the United States ... will work with the Ukrainian authorities, encouraging them honestly to fully implement the Minsk agreements,” Mr. Lavrov told a news conference.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:01:26 PM |

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