The Group of Seven (G7) rich countries have agreed to stop international funding for the construction of coal-fired power stations that emit carbon, a document summarising a G7 environment ministers' meeting showed on Friday.
"We stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now and commit to take concrete steps towards an absolute end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021," said the document, reviewed by Reuters.
Coal is considered unabated when it is burned for power or heat without using technology to capture the resulting emissions, a system not yet widely used in power generation.
The agreement comes in the context of aligning international financing with the goals under the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, by reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050, including deep reductions this decade.
In order for the goal to be reached, power generation must give way to renewable-sourced electricity such as wind and solar.
The document said the G7 countries will review and phase out new direct government support for carbon intensive fossil energy, except in limited circumstances at the discretion of each country.
The G7 asked other major economies to adopt the commitments, raising pressure especially on China, which consumes around half the world's coal. Japan, which had long fallen behind peers in ditching coal, has been coming closer to the position of the other G7 members.
The phase-out of payments includes official development aid, export finance investments and financial and trade promotion support.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday had decried new oil, gas and coal projects.
"This meeting is a hopeful start," said the Global Strategic Communications Council (GSCC), a professional network in the energy space, in a statement.