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German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to the media at the conclusion of the summit of G7 nations at Schloss Elmau on June 8, 2015 near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

The G7 is calling on its members to put their energy sectors on a low carbon footing by 2050, which has serious implications for Canada's greenhouse-gas-emitting oilsands.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel fell short of her goal of pushing her fellow leaders to a broad, iron-clad commitment to a low-carbon economy by 2050. Instead, the G7 agreed to a full-blown no-carbon economy, but not until 2100.

"We commit to doing our part to achieve a low-carbon global economy in the long-term including developing and deploying innovative technologies striving for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050 and invite all countries to join us in this endeavour," the leaders said in their final communique.

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"To this end we also commit to develop long term national low-carbon strategies."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper took part in the G7 leaders' shortened talks on climate change today as their summit entered its second and final day.

He was expected to address Canadian reporters on the implications for Canada.

Canada and Japan worked behind the scenes to water down the G7 statement on climate change.

The Canadian Press has been told by sources who saw the working draft of the G7's climate change communique that the two countries blocked attempts at a stronger statement on binding greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Merkel has placed the fight against climate change at the heart of her sweeping agenda.

She wants the G7 summit to give France momentum when it hosts the United Nations climate change conference this December in which it hopes to reach a breakthrough agreement in the fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Merkel had been pushing the G7 to endorse a pledge to reach zero carbon emissions, but Canada and Japan were holdouts.

"Canada and Japan are the most concerned about this one," said one source who was privy to discussions but would only speak on the condition of anonymity.

"The two of those countries have been the most difficult on every issue on climate. They don't want any types of targets in there, so I think they are trying to make it as vague as possible at this point."

Harper and Merkel held a bilateral discussion on Sunday, but the prime minister's office said they did not discuss climate change.

Harper's office said in a statement that today's French-led climate talks focused on the "collective response to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the advancement of energy security in the face of escalating threats."

Harper's office says the G7 leaders chose to devote a portion of the climate session to a discussion of global security threats posed by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria and the ongoing fight against Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria.

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A senior Canadian government official, speaking on the condition they not be named, said Canada fully endorses a statement by the G7 that would support the December climate change talks in France.

"We support agreement in Paris that includes all GHG emitting countries," the official said, noting that in 2013 Canada's emissions dropped 3.1 per cent from 2005 levels.

Environment Canada data show emissions were 3.1 per cent below 2005 levels in 2013, but had risen four years in a row following the 2009 global downturn.

"We believe we have a fair and ambitious reduction target that is in line with other major industrialized economies. It reflects our national circumstance," the Canadian official said.

Other groups disagree.

"It's pretty clear that Canada and Japan are in a different place than the rest of the G7 on the issue of climate change," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the global climate program at the Washington, D.C.-based World Resources Institute.

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"All of the other countries have understood the risk and they are moving forward in decarbonizing their economies."

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