80 NGOs ask Japan to end fossil fuel financing by 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a letter released today in Tokyo, 80 civil society organizations urged Japan to announce a commitment at the G7 summit to end all fossil fuel financing by 2017. Such a commitment would align with latest climate science research, which shows that no new fossil fuel power plants can be built after 2017 if we are to have a 50 percent chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change.
This letter builds on international protests in March and April when activists rallied to demand that Japan stop financing dirty energy projects like the Batang coal-fired power plant, which has been plagued by human rights abuses. These protests will continue this month to call out Japan’s out-of-touch plans to build 49 new coal plants domestically and finance many others abroad.
Japan’s government has continued to isolate itself by supporting both fossil fuel projects at home and across the globe. This is despite Japan’s wealth of renewable resources. Japan’s financing has included liquefied natural gas projects throughout the world, including the United States and Indonesia. In addition, Japan provided over US$20 billion in coal financing abroad between 2007 and 2014, making it the world’s number one financier of overseas coal.
Yuki Tanabe, a program coordinator at Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) stated that, “It is a time to make G7’s public finance flows consistent with the goal of 1.5-2 degree Celsius agreed in Paris. As a chair of the G7 Summit, the Prime Minister Abe should take a strong leadership towards the dramatical change.”
“Japan’s own government research shows that the country is rich in clean, renewable resources,” said Kate DeAngelis, international policy analyst at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Instead of taking advantage of these resources and encouraging the rest of the world to transition to renewables, Japan has doubled down on dirty coal and gas. Hosting the G7 provides Japan with an opportunity to change course and commit to replacing its dangerous fossil fuel financing with resources for renewables.”
“Indonesian people have severely suffered from climate change. We do not need any more coal fired power plant that will not only exacerbate the climate but will also take livelihoods of the small farmers and fishers that depend on their land and sea to continue their lives. We urge Japan government to stop making profits out of the suffering of Indonesian people, withdraw its financing from Batang coal plant, and shift their investment to renewable energy,” said Nur Hidayati, national executive director of WALHI – Friends of the Earth Indonesia.
“It’s undeniable that the momentum toward a 100 percent clean energy economy has continued to accelerate in the months since the Paris Agreement was adopted, and 175 nations, including Japan, joining together on Earth Day 2016 to sign the agreement reaffirms that the world is ready to tackle the climate crisis,” said Maura Cowley, associate director of the Sierra Club’s International Climate and Energy campaign. “There’s no excuse for Japan or any other developed country to continue to push for the world’s dirtiest energy source when cheaper, safer, and more modern energy sources — like wind and solar — are literally all around us.”
“Among G7 countries and around the world, divestment from fossil fuels is gaining momentum. To avoid dangerous climate change, we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Continuing to invest in coal and fossil fuels is risky business. Japanese financial institutions should divest from fossil fuels and re-invest in a sustainable future.” said Shin Furuno, Japan divestment campaigner at 350.org Japan.