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G7: Liquefied natural gas is a bridge fuel to climate disaster

The eyes of the world are on Sapporo, Japan this weekend as energy ministers of some of the world’s largest economies, the G7, meet to discuss global climate and energy policy. In early versions of the G7 draft publication, countries emphasized financing liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports as a supposed bridge fuel to a clean energy future. These claims were met with alarm and disgust from scientists, activists, policymakers and even some G7 nations — and frontline groups, youth advocates and other climate advocates jumped into action to ask the Biden administration take a stand against U.S. further LNG liquefaction and export expansion. Later drafts have since walked back language on investing in LNG exports, though, there is still much in the draft to spark concern. 

LNG is not a bridge fuel to a clean-energy future. The production and transportation of LNG results in significant emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is responsible for approximately 30 percent of global warming. The carbon footprint of LNG is often larger than that of coal, due to the leakage of methane during the production and transportation process. It’s a bridge that ends in a hotter, more dangerous world for all of us, especially the world’s most vulnerable people and ecosystems.

We cannot afford to build that bridge—one there’s no coming back from. Last year, the G7 committed to ending financial support for the fossil fuel industry by the end of 2022.

However, according to a report from Oil Change International, G7 countries financed $73 billion for fossil fuel projects between 2020 and 2022, over twice the financing they provided for clean energy during this time period ($28.6 billion). And just this week, the Biden administration approved LNG exports from Alaska Gasline Development Corp’s project.

Japan, the host of both this weekend’s ministerial G7 meeting and the G7 summit in late May, is a primary culprit, hiding their financial support of fossil gas projects as part of their “Green Transformation Strategy”. Fossil fuel companies, of course, are in full support of this new tactic in which they capitalize on global instability and human suffering to further rig the system in their favor. 

The era of fossil fuels is coming to an end — and we need to accelerate it for the sake of humanity, ecosystems and life on earth everywhere. The U.S. and other G7 governments have used taxpayer money to prop up a dying industry for too long. We have already seen the decline of coal due to market pressures as renewable energy becomes more abundant and cost-effective.

Without government financing of new LNG and other gas facilities around the world, these risky, dirty and harmful new projects would be dead on arrival. Many of these same countries, including the U.S., have already signed onto an agreement reached at COP26 in Glasgow committing to end “new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector within one year of signing this statement [end of 2022], except in limited and clearly defined circumstances that are consistent with a 1.5°C warming limit and the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The International Energy Agency has stated that no new investments can be made in fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to keep temperatures below the 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Our message to the G7 is clear: Don’t be hypocrites. Honor your commitments and end financing and support of new LNG infrastructure. 

Leah Qusba is the executive director of Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE).

Tags Climate change Energy G7 Global warming LNG Natural gas

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