The 2022 communiqué endorsed public investment in gas, but only in “exceptional circumstances” and as a “temporary response” to relieve nations from dependency on Russian energy. Any expansion, the statement said, should not derail nations from their pledges to slash greenhouse gas emissions. The 2023 statement repeated that language and did not go much further.
“It is necessary to accelerate the phaseout of our dependency on Russian energy, including through energy savings and gas demand reduction, in a manner consistent with our Paris commitments,” it read, referring to the landmark Paris climate agreement, “and address the global impact of Russia’s war on energy supplies, gas prices and inflation, and people’s lives, recognizing the primary need to accelerate the clean energy transition.”
Britain and France fought the German effort. The Biden administration found itself caught between defending the president’s own ambitious climate change agenda and aiding other United States allies intent on increasing their access to fossil fuels.
The sudden promotion of such fuels has alarmed environmental activists who say that endorsing public investment in gas is incompatible with the pledge nations made in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021 to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels.