G7 buys into Scholz’s Climate Club idea

EuroActiv Politico News

ELMAU, Germany — The G7 is aiming to form a club of countries committed to stronger action on climate change by the end of the year.

As a three-day summit for leaders concluded Tuesday in Bavaria, the German hosts released a joint statement outlining in broad terms the principles for membership: namely, strong climate policies that adhere to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The plan, championed by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, was met with a mix of confusion and curiosity by other G7 partners when it was initially pitched. But in a win for the German leader, G7 countries said they would “work with partners towards establishing an open, cooperative international Climate Club, consistent with international rules, by the end of 2022.”

Scholz said he was “pleased” by the in-principle deal. The club would help countries with more aggressive climate goals to “maintain our competitiveness and [ensure] that climate protection becomes a value advantage and not a disadvantage.”

The club is intended to be open to anyone — presumably including China, the world’s largest emitter — so long as the country is deemed to be actively stepping up its climate efforts.

“We invite partners, including major emitters, G20 members and other developing and emerging economies, to intensify discussions and consultations with us on this matter,” the G7 said in the statement, in which it committed to sharing technology and low carbon know-how.

The group also said it aims to work toward a common understanding so that the burden on industries under carbon pricing regimes is comparable to the impact of “other carbon mitigation approaches and carbon intensities.”

That would, in theory, allow countries such as the United States to avoid the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism despite not having its own carbon price.