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G7 considers phasing out coal before 2030

BMA Australia

An intergovernmental meeting could shut down fossil-fuel production within eight years.

Climate change ministers attending the next Group of Seven (G7) meeting might commit to phasing out coal as early as 2030.

Event organisers claim the ongoing Ukraine-Russia border conflict caused commodity and energy prices to soar. The coal spot price peaked at US$224.50 (A$313.5) a tonne back in October 2021, representing a 348 per cent jump compared to August 2020 according to the Ycharts website. Since coal’s value is unlikely to decrease any time soon, the G7 wants to accelerate the transition to renewable energy alternatives.

“We commit to phase out domestic unabated coal power generation and non-industrial coal-powered heat generation aiming at the year 2030,” the draft meeting announcement said according to Reuters.

The document also proposes committing to a “net zero electricity sector by 2035”, and requiring G7 member countries to publicly report annual progress on removing “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies before 2025.

Germany and Canada have already promised to phase out coal by 2030. France, Italy and United Kingdom plan to achieve this earlier. However, Japan and the United States are widely expected to resist the deadline, meaning the matter could be escalated to heads of state in June.

OtherLab co-founding CEO Saul Griffith believes electrifying all vehicles and machines is the quickest way for Australia to achieve zero emissions.

“Tracing every flow from the mines, platforms and all the way to the users … when you look at the whole system end-to-end the great majority of the solution is electrification of all of those machines and then supplying it with clean electricity, renewables,” he said according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Australia can do it easily, in some [other] countries they will need to use some nuclear.”

He also recommends replacing diesel with plant material, animal waste and highly flammable gas.

“We can solve part of this whole problem with biofuels, we can solve a small part of this problem with hydrogen,” he said according to the broadcaster.

Meanwhile, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has found a new way to harvest solar power at night.

UNSW researchers claim a thermoradiative diode semiconductor, typically used in night-vision goggles, can convert the Earth’s radiating heat into infrared light that can generate electricity.

Their study called “Thermoradiative power conversion from HgCdTe photodiodes and their current–voltage characteristics” found the technology produces about 100,000 times less energy than a conventional solar panel.

“Even if the commercialisation of these technologies is still a way down the road, being at the very beginning of an evolving idea is such an exciting place to be as a researcher,” co-author Michael Nielsen said in a public statement.

“By leveraging our knowledge of how to design and optimise solar cells and borrowing materials from the existing mid-infrared photodetector community, we hope for rapid progress towards delivering the dream of solar power at night.”

Click here to read the full study.

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