Japan lags behind South Korea in overseas coal financing at the Leaders Summit on Climate
~Japan needs to withdraw support for coal plants in Indonesia and Bangladesh~
Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)
Friends of the Earth Japan
On April 22 and 23, U.S. President Joe Biden hosted the Leaders Summit on Climate in which world leaders discussed climate change countermeasures. However, there was no new announcement from the Japanese government regarding its public financing for overseas coal-fired power projects. While countries around the globe were asked to announce ambitious goals, we are disappointed by the Japanese government’s inactive attitude. In fact, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced to end financing for overseas coal-fired power projects (※1). The Japanese government missed a great opportunity to demonstrate international leadership in climate change countermeasures.
On April 16, the U.S.-Japan climate partnership was launched at the U.S.-Japan Summit held in Washington D.C., and both countries announced to align their domestic and overseas public financial support with the aim of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 (※2). However, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is still expected to support the Indramayu coal-fired power plant project (Indramayu) in Indonesia and the Matarbari coal-fired power plant Phase 2 project (Matarbari 2) in Bangladesh. JICA providing public support for Indramayu and Matarbari 2 would contradict the Japanese government’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
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 (※3). 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.
Although the Japanese government emphasized the need to unite the international community at this Leaders Summit on Climate, it should be aware that it is holding the world back in addressing climate change. The Japanese government should announce to withdraw public support for Indramayu and Matarbari 2, and to exercise international leadership on ending public support for all fossil fuel projects toward the G7 summit to be held in Cornwall, southwest England, on June 11-13.
※1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xa7yyypznY (1:18:39)
※3: 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)