BERLIN (Reuters) - Ministers from the world's richest democracies will discuss how to maintain climate change targets when they meet in Berlin on Thursday in talks overshadowed by spiraling energy costs and fuel supply concerns triggered by the Ukraine war.
The Group of Seven (G7) energy, climate and environment ministers want to reaffirm a commitment to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and protect biodiversity at the May 25-27 meeting.
The group will also consider a commitment to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030, according to a draft communiqué accessed by Reuters, although sources suggested that opposition from the United States and Japan could derail such a commitment.
The draft, which could change considerably by the time the talks conclude on Friday, would also commit G7 countries to have a "net zero power sector by 2035" and to start reporting publicly next year on how they are meeting an earlier G7 commitment to end "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies by 2025.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has triggered a race among some countries to buy more non-Russian fossil fuels and burn coal to reduce their dependence on Russian supplies, raising fears that the energy crisis triggered by the war could undermine efforts to fight climate change.
Activists urged G7 ministers to make a clear commitment that the fallout from the Ukraine war will not derail their goals.
"We now have a new reality. The G7 must respond to it, and it must do so through renewables, not through fossil fuel infrastructure," said David Ryfisch, climate policy expert at the non-profit Germanwatch.
As it seeks consensus on the oil embargo on Russia, the European Union is pushing to accelerate the bloc's shift to renewables while seeking fossil fuel alternatives to Russian supplies.
Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate think tank E3G, said tackling climate change is the best and fastest way for countries to achieve energy security.
"Climate impacts are worse than scientists first predicted and much worse things are coming if we don't reduce emissions quickly," Meyer said. "Delivering on climate promises actually becomes more vital in this tense geopolitical environment."
(Reporting by Kate Abnett in BRUSSELS and Markus Wacket in BERLIN; editing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Marguerita Choy, translated by José Muñoz in the Gda?sk newsroom)