G7 countries say they’ll phase out coal by 2035 — with caveats

A group of nations known as the G-7 say they’ll eliminate coal from their power sector — unless those coal plants capture their planet-warming emissions — by 2035.

In a communique this week, the nations’ environment and climate leaders said they would phase out “unabated coal power” — that which does not use technology to capture its emissions — “during the first half of 2030s”

However, it also offers an alternative, saying that nations could phase out coal’s use during that period or in a more ambiguous “timeline consistent with keeping a limit of 1.5°C temperature rise within reach.”

The 1.5 degrees celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) figure refers to a level of temperature rise at which scientists say should be avoided to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change.

The G7 includes the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

The announcement, in which the countries also said they would, in the meantime, reduce their unabated coal use, “as much as possible,” comes just days after the U.S. issued a new rule cracking down on power plants’ climate pollution.

That rule effectively requires coal plants to either install carbon capture technology by 2032 or retire by 2039.

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