G7 to Create Action Plan for Clean Energy, Reduce Reliance on China

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Solar panels are installed on the rooftop of the public facility on Kozu Island, Tokyo.

A separate statement on clean energy to be adopted at the G7 Hiroshima Summit will be positioned as an action plan for the group as it seeks to galvanize cooperation toward building supply chains for important minerals and other components used in solar panels and other clean technologies, according to sources.

The action plan aims to reduce the G7’s dependence on China for these components and promote fair and free multilateral trade that supports decarbonization.

Besides Japan, the members of the G7 are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.

According to a draft of the statement, the G7 aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 in a bid to achieve the goal of holding the global average temperature increase, compared to the levels before the Industrial Revolution, to within 1.5 C, as called for by the Paris Agreement. The draft pledges that G7 members will work together as they move toward this goal.

Other pillars of the draft statement include maximizing subsidies and other assistance that encourages wider adoption of clean energy; trade policies that support decarbonization; building resilient supply chains; and promoting the wider use of clean technologies around the world.

The draft also says the G7 will support countries around the globe trying to reform their economy toward more inclusive, sustainable growth, while grappling with poverty issues. The draft also pledges to bolster support in the group of developing and other nations collectively called the Global South.

Important minerals including rare earths are essential for renewable energy technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels. China holds a large share of the market for the processing and refining of these minerals, and the G7 aims to reduce the potential risk this poses to each member’s economic security by crafting stronger supply chains and reducing dependence on Beijing for these components.

Japan is a front-runner in carbon dioxide capture technology and the research and development of hydrogen, which is expected to become a next-generation energy source. The draft statement says the G7 will work together on efforts to make these kinds of technologies more widely used around the world.

Tokyo and Washington have already signed an agreement designed to strengthen supply chains of critical minerals. The United States and the EU are negotiating on a similar agreement.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday that clean energy would be “high on the agenda” at the G7 summit that begins in Hiroshima on Friday. Sullivan said the “alignment” of the United States and the EU on clean energy “will be taken out to the G7 as a whole.”

Sullivan added that the work done together would ensure clean energy technologies are used more widely “not just in all of our countries, but globally.”