NGOs welcome the U.S.-Japan announcement to align Official Financing
with the Net-zero Emissions by 2050
~But Japan needs to withdraw support from two coal projects~
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Friends of the Earth Japan
On April 16, the first U.S.-Japan Summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga was held in Washington D.C., and the “Japan-U.S. Climate Partnership on Ambition, Decarbonization, and Clean Energy” (※1) was announced regarding the climate change policies of both countries. The policy states that “Japan and the United States will align official international financing with the global achievement of net zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050 and deep emission reductions in the 2020s, and will work to promote the flow of public and private capital toward climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments.”
We welcome the U.S.-Japan announcement to align their domestic and overseas public financial support with the aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and to move away public and private funds from high carbon investment. However, this commitment lacks effective measures since no specific projects or timelines were stated. Particularly, the Japanese government did not make an announcement that it will end support for the Indramayu coal-fired power plant project (Indramayu) in Indonesia and the Matarbari coal-fired power plant Phase 2 project (Matarbari 2) in Bangladesh, which are both expected to be supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This makes the aim of being consistent with achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 extremely unclear.
According to the World Energy Outlook 2020 released by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in October 2020, if all existing fossil fuel energy infrastructure and power plants currently under construction were to be used in similar ways as in the past until the end of their lifetimes, the emissions would lead to a 1.65 degrees Celsius increase in global average temperatures by 2070 (※2). In order to achieve the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement, which is an international framework for climate change countermeasures, it is necessary to end public support not only for coal but also for other fossil fuel projects, including oil and gas. In particular, at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Energy Policy Review and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Coal-Fired Electricity Generation Sector Understanding (CFSU) Revision, it is important to urge other member countries of ADB and OECD to declare a policy to withdraw financial support for coal, oil and gas expansion projects which do not align with the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal.
On April 22 and 23, President Biden will host the Leaders Summit on Climate in which world leaders will discuss climate change countermeasures. We call on the Japanese government to take this opportunity to clearly state that it will not provide public support for Indramayu and Matarbari 2, and to exercise international leadership on ending public support for all fossil fuel projects.
※2: International Energy Agency (IEA), (2020), World Energy Outlook 2020, pp. 102, IEA, Paris, https://www.iea.org/reports/world-energy-outlook-2020/achieving-net-zero-emissions-by-2050.
Yuki Tanabe, Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)