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Germany, Italy Voice Support For More Fossil Fuel Investments Abroad

In a marked departure from the official G7 position on new fossil fuel investments in third countries, Germany and Italy have voiced support for a reconsideration of this position.

Bloomberg first reported last weekend that Germany had suggested G7 countries lift their self-imposed ban on investments in fossil fuels in non-G7 countries at the meeting of the seven countries that began in Germany on Sunday.

A draft of the proposal cited by Bloomberg said that G7 had to "acknowledge that publicly supported investment in the gas sector is necessary as a temporary response to the current energy crisis." 

The draft added that this should be done "in a manner consistent with our climate objectives and without creating lock-in effects."

Reuters then reported that Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi had also spoken in favor of such an acknowledgment, adding that the meeting's delegates were debating whether the self-imposed ban could be lifted without compromising net-zero commitments.

"(It is) possible that there will be wording in the declaration that investment for fossil energy should be possible for a certain time," one European Union diplomat said, as quoted by Reuters.

The proposal is being put forward as European economies are urgently looking to replace Russian hydrocarbons with alternative sources in order to keep functioning.

Environmentalists immediately hit back at the suggestion, however.

"This would be a huge setback from the progress we made last month at the G-7 energy and environment ministers when we finally brought Japan, the last G-7 holdout, into the commitment to end such financial support for fossil fuels," Alden Meyer, senior associate at climate think tank E3G told Bloomberg.

"Where we saw Chancellor Merkel being the climate chancellor at the last G-7 summit Germany hosted, Scholz could go down in history as the climate backtracking Chancellor, which I think would be a real mark on his record, and we don't need to do this," he also said.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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