Trump and Abe’s pro-coal agenda disastrous for the planetApril summit likely to include coal collaboration between U.S. and Japan
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of a summit in Florida between Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on April 18, U.S. and Japanese groups warned against any attempt by either leader to use the meeting to promote coal.
Trump is likely to use the Florida summit to urge Japan to join his so-called “Clean Coal Alliance,” a pro-coal initiative meant to counter the Canadian and UK-led “Powering Past Coal” alliance. In November 2017, Abe and Trump agreed to encourage the building of coal power plants in developing countries, including in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
“A potential pro-coal alliance between Trump and Abe would be disastrous for both countries and the entire planet,” said Kate DeAngelis, international policy analyst at Friends of the Earth U.S. “Communities around the world are already dealing with the disastrous effects of climate change caused by dirty fossil fuels like coal. Despite Trump and Abe’s regressive pro-coal agendas, coal is the energy of yesterday, while renewables are the energy of today and tomorrow. Instead of supporting coal, Japan and the U.S. should put those resources into developing innovative renewable technologies and related job training.”
Yuki Tanabe, program director of Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES) stated, “There is a serious reputational risk for Japan to join a pro-coal alliance proposed by Trump. Abe, as the best global partner, has a responsibility to urge Trump to return to the Paris Agreement, and to phase out its public financing for coal projects.”
Trump has made no secret of his love affair with coal. His administration has prioritized rollbacks of coal regulations, including the Clean Power Plan, and is vigorously trying to open up as much federal land as possible to fossil fuel development. Trump’s push has resulted in a resurgence of U.S. coal exports.
Japan is one of the largest importers of coal resources and one of the world’s largest financial supporters of coal projects all over the world. From 2013 to 2015, Japan provided over $2 billion annually to coal projects, second only to China. Since 2003, three Japanese government agencies – the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance – have supported over 35 gigawatts of coal, producing annual emissions of around 200 million tons.