By Lidy Nacpil

We are from the Asia Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), a regional organization of climate justice activists, social movements, civil society networks, and grassroots organizations across Asia. We are joined today by the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), Oriang, Sanlakas and the Bukluran ng Manggawang Pilipino (BMP) as we collectively denounce the continuous financing of coal power projects by South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco) and the Japanese corporations – Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Marubeni Corporation, Mizuho Bank Limited.

These five Asian firms are holding their respective Shareholders Meetings this month of June – MARUBENI and MIZUHO last June 22, KEPCO on June 27, SUMITOMO and MITSUBISHI on June 28, We are urging their shareholders to take urgent steps for these companies to stop funding coal projects.

These five banks and corporations are among Asia’s Dirty Companies – companies who provide huge investments to fossil fuel projects. Fossil fuel energy is dirty energy – one of the major causes of excessive and swift accumulation of greenhouse gases in our planet’s atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change.

These 5 companies invest heavily in COAL – the dirtiest source of energy. These Dirty Companies continue to finance coal projects in the Philippines and other Asian countries, despite the 2015 Paris Agreement among nations to cut-down on greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use.

Three years ago in 2015, nearly 200 member-countries of the United Nations signed the Paris Agreement that stipulates the goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent the world from totally sliding down into catastrophic climate-change.

Yet, KEPCO, SUMITOMO, MITSUBISHI, MARUBENI and MIZUHO have not made any significant changes to respond to the global clamor to end coal and swiftly transition to 100% Renewable Energy.

Early this year, KEPCO announced that it would build a 1,000 MW coal-fired power plant in Sual, Panganisan. The proposed coal plant will be the second coal-fired power facility in Sual, which holds the 25-year old power plant financed by MARUBENI. KEPCO’s new coal Sual project adds to its existing coal investments in the country, namely, the Cebu CFBC Power Plant and the Naga Power Plant Complex.

In March 2018, Japanese banks SUMITOMO MITSUI and MIZUHO were reported to be lending for the Masinloc coal-fired power plant acquisitions by San Miguel Corporation. Also in the past, SUMITOMO MITSUI provided financing to Ayala Corporation for its coal projects.

Meanwhile, MITSUBISHI UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) also finances the coal power projects of SMC Global and Aboitiz Power. And, Mitsubishi Corp. has co-constructed the coal-fired power plant in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental

On the other hand, Japanese bank MIZUHO supported the San Miguel Corporation Coal Plant in Limay, Bataan and the Ayala GNPower Coal Plant in Mariveles, Bataan. In addition, another Japanese firm, MARUBENI Corporation, supported the Sual Coal Plant in Pangasinan and is financing the proposed expansion of the same plant. It also supported the coal plant in Pagbilao, Quezon and is financing a new coal-fired power plant in Calaca, Batangas with a stake of $80 to 85 million.

These Asian Dirty Companies are ignoring scientific findings and global consensus on the dangers of climate change. Climate change-related disasters are becoming more severe and more frequent, devastating cities and communities in many parts of the world. The Philippines suffer harshly from the onslaught of disasters as people’s livelihoods and support systems are washed away by powerful storms and typhoons.

The 2015 Paris Agreement must be upheld. The 1.5 degrees Celsius agreed threshold is not just a number. It represents the fate of the 7.6 billion world population and the earth’s eco-system. Achieving or failing to achieve the 1.5 degrees mark will determine who will survive, how many islands will sink, who and how many will have food and shelter, what new diseases will threaten life.

In order to keep within this temperature target, the world must fully de-carbonize not later than 2050. There must be a complete shift to 100% renewable energy way before 2050. This is a huge transformation, but there is no time to lose.

Asia’s Dirty Companies must act on their crucial roles in climate change. They must be act on their responsibilities and obligations towards humankind and the planet.

To KEPCO, SUMITOMO MITSUI, MITSUBISHI, MARUBENI and MIZUHO, we demand: Stop financing new coal power projects. Phase-out of your coal investments immediately.

There is no time to lose.