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No fossil fuels by end of century: summit

G7 nations will abandon fossil fuel use by the end of the century, world leaders pledged Monday.

This comes in a communiqué issued at the conclusion of the two-day summit in Elmau, Germany where world leaders announced goals to limit global temperature increases to below 2 C. "We emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century," the communique read.

Leaders invited other countries to join them in their drive, saying they would accelerate access to renewable energy in Africa and intensify their support for vulnerable countries' own efforts to manage climate change.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined with his fellow G7 leaders in agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70% by 2050, compared to 2010 levels.

Among the many issues discussed at the summit, ranging from conflict between Ukraine and Russia to the Ebola crisis, climate change did not appear to be high on Canada's agenda.

While calling the targets ambitious, Harper said during a press conference meeting the agreed-to targets will require Canada's energy sector to adapt.

"Canada already has the cleanest electricity generating sector among just about any developed country," he said. "We do understand to achieve these kinds of milestones over the decades to come will require serious technological transformation."

The work to reach that point is ongoing, Harper said.

"Nobody's going to start to shut down their industries, or turn off the lights -- we've simply got to find a way to create lower carbon emitting sources of energy."

According to the Canadian Press sources who saw a previous draft of the G7 statement on climate change said Canada and Japan worked to water down the final greenhouse gas reduction commitments.

A G7 wrap-up news release issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Monday made only a brief reference to the environment, focusing instead on foreign policy, security, economic and development issues.

"During the summit, G7 leaders discussed key foreign policy and security challenges, including Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine, as well as the threat posed by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)," the PMO release said. "Leaders also emphasized that global economic growth remains persistently weak and increasingly uneven."

"Development issues, including food security, health, and women's economic empowerment were also discussed," it said. "Prime Minister Harper urged his G7 partners to continue global momentum on maternal, newborn and child health."

Harper also announced "further support" at the summit "to combat the criminal networks seeking to launch marine migrant smuggling ventures," the release said.

The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

— With files from Postmedia Network and Reuters

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