The environment, climate and energy ministers of the Group of Seven western industrialized states (G7) have agreed to largely decarbonize their electricity sectors within 13 years. Following their meeting in Berlin, the ministers said they “commit to a goal of achieving predominantly decarbonized electricity sectors by 2035.” The ministers refrained from setting a date for the phase-out of coal power. The ministers said only that they “commit to supporting an accelerated global unabated coal phase-out.”

The ministers had debated a coal exit by 2030 on Germany’s insistence, with the exit date included in an earlier draft, but this was dropped in the final statement.

“There was no real progress on coal, because the statement remains too vague,” said Brick Medak, head of the Berlin office of think tank E3G.

He added the U.S. and Japan had resisted including a specific exit date in the declaration.

The G7 consists of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, which cover roughly half of global GDP and more than a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. The ministers’ meeting in Berlin primarily served to prepare for the G7 summit of heads of state and government on June 26-28 in Elmau, Bavaria. In a report from last year, requested by then-G7 president UK, the International Energy Agency  provided a roadmap to driving down CO2 emissions from electricity generation of the G7 to net zero by 2035. Food and energy security issues have become a key focus of the G7 agenda as a result of the war in Ukraine, but the German government has emphasized the linkage with the climate crisis.