The member countries of the Group of Seven (G7) should end all direct and indirect support for liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel and infrastructure within their own territories and overseas, including developing countries like Bangladesh, in order to meet the fossil fuel phase-out target by 2030, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a think tank, said on Wednesday.
"Promoting liquefied natural gas as a transitional fuel will further disrupt the process of fossil fuel phase-out by the targeted time because LNG itself is a carbon-based fuel," the think tank noted at a dialogue at a hotel in Dhaka.
G7 is an intergovernmental political forum comprising Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, France, the UK and the US.
The group members had committed to abandoning coal by 2030 and to ending new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector.
But their plan failed with the group stressing the use of LNG as a transitional fuel in their territories and overseas to meet the global net zero commitment, said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director at CPD, while presenting a keynote at the dialogue.
Instead of being the world's highest LNG exporter, the US now has two LNG regasification infrastructures in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, while Japan is investing in LNG globally, including in Bangladesh, along with its own dependency on natural gas and LNG for the next 10-15 years, added Moazzem.
At the upcoming G7 Summit, scheduled for 19-21 May 2023 in Hiroshima, Japan, Bangladesh, as a graduating developing country, expects to receive proper guidance, assistance, support, and funding to prevent, mitigate and adapt to climate change to ensure the clean energy transition, he added.
The dialogue, titled "G7 Summit in 2023: Call for Global Initiatives for Ending Support for Fossil Fuels and Accelerating the Transition to Renewable Energy", was chaired by Fahmida Khatun, executive director of the think tank.
"There are several studies indicating that if we go at this rate of current economic activity and emissions, then we may not be able to fulfil the target that was set by global leaders at the climate conference in 2015," she said.
"So, standing at a significant time before the next G7 Summit, we would like to know what leaders from developed countries are going to offer us," she added.
Tanvir Shakil Joy, a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, said that there are various technologies for setting the energy mix.
"But before setting our energy mix, we first need to think from our perspective, which suits us best. We need to ensure energy for all at an affordable cost. We should not take any technology that is not viable for us," he added.
Speaking about the renewable energy target, Tanvir Shakil Joy said that there are several options to increase the renewable energy share. "The idea of floating solar seems viable for us as it is possible without interrupting agriculture fields."
On how the UK can help Bangladesh meet its renewable target, Matt Cannell, deputy British high commissioner in Dhaka, said that it has a bilateral partnership with Bangladesh that focuses on how the UK can contribute and share its experience to boost renewables in Bangladesh.
Regarding more finance for climate change protection and adaptation, he said, "To turn billions into trillions, we need private sector engagement to address the climate issue."
He said the impact of the Ukraine-Russia war is overshadowing the whole climate and environment issue.
Shedding light on Japan's contribution to Bangladesh's renewable energy, Tatsuya Machida, deputy chief of mission (minister) of the Embassy of Japan, said that the Japan International Cooperation Agency is preparing a unified power master plant with a fuel mix that will help the country achieve its renewable targets.
"Besides, we are providing very efficient coal energy generation in the Matarbari Coal Power Plant, through which we can achieve cleaner energy that also reflects our commitment towards cleaner energy," added the diplomat.
Among others, Florian Höllen, head of cooperation at the German Embassy in Dhaka, Syed Mohammad Aminur Rahman, director (energy efficiency and conservation) of SREDA, and Humayun Rashid, managing director of Energypac Power Generation, also spoke at the event.