June 27, 2019
Global Actions Call on G20 Osaka Summit Host Japan to Phase-out Coal Power
Protests in 8 countries, 80,843 Sign Petition Calling on Japan to Stop Funding Coal
On June 26th and 27th, ahead of the Osaka G20 Summit on June 28th and 29th , 140 people took part in protest actions in Yokosuka and Kobe, as well as in 7 other countries to demand the Japanese government, as host country and chair of the summit, to show leadership and make bold policy changes to solve the climate crisis. An international petition was signed by 80,843 people demanding the Japanese government and financial institutions to stop financing coal power plants.
In support of ongoing lawsuits against Japan’s plan to build new coal-fired power plants in Yokosuka and Kobe, 350.org Japan carried out protest actions together with other civil society groups in Yokosuka on June 26th and Kobe on June 27th, adjacent to the G20 Summit host city of Osaka.
Action with 4 meter height of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Balloon in front of the planned coal fired power plant in Kobe City (Photos by No Coal Japan）
The protest movement in Japan and overseas was carried out under a common NO COAL JAPAN(*1) campaign banner. Outside of Japan, actions were held in front of Japanese embassies in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Australia and the United States to demand the Japanese government and private sector to discontinue investment plans for coal-fired power plants and to implement practicable climate change measures.
At the same time, more than 80,000 people signed on to support an international petition (co-organized by SumOfUs and Oil Change International) to Japan, as host country of the G20, to stop financing coal-fired power both at home and overseas. and instead support a just transition towards a renewable energy society.
A photo action was also held in front of the Osaka Castle Park on 26th June with more than 200 individuals represented in a digital banner image proclaiming “Japan: Stop Funding Coal”.
“The G20 Osaka Summit this weekend will discuss the global climate crisis as one of the key themes. The Japanese Government released its Long Term Growth Strategy under the Paris Agreement on June 11th, however it fails to declare a phase out of coal power and thus it is completely inadequate to achieve the global goal of keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees celsius”. “Furthermore, if reports indicating that the final leaders’ communique language on climate change will be watered down this year are proven correct, Prime Minister Abe’s leadership on the issue will likely be the subject of harsh criticism from the international community”, said 350.org Japan Campaigner Eri Watanabe.
“The reason why people across Asia are demonstrating and calling on Japan to quit funding coal is that coal plants not only accelerate the dangerous effects of climate change, but they also exacerbate human rights issues for affected communities. Japan must show leadership now as the host of G20, and should stop exporting dirty energy and instead support decentralised, sustainable energy solutions that empower communities” said 350.org Asia Director Norly Mercado.
While global voices calling for the swift realisation of a decarbonized economy increase day-by-day, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso held in Fukuoka and the G20 Energy and Environment Ministers Meeting chaired by Minister for Economy, Trade and Energy, held in Nagano failed to agree on decisive action on climate change.
In an opinion piece published in the Japan Times on 24 June, Prime Minister Abe comments that achieving the goals outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Global Warming of 1.5 ˚C” report “are not achievable through regulation alone. Disruptive innovation that flips something negative into something positive will be the key to realizing the world’s climate goals. Consider carbon dioxide, which in recent years has been treated entirely as a villain. But how wonderful would it be if CO2 were to become a resource available at the very lowest price and available in the greatest abundance!”. This position stands in stark contrast to the need for OECD countries to phase out coal at the latest by 2030 (and other countries by 2050), and other advanced economies like the UK, Germany, France, and Canada who have already declared targets to phase out coal by set deadlines.
“As the global push towards decarbonization intensifies, Japan can utilise its platform as chair of the G20 Summit and demonstrate climate leadership by declaring an end to financing new coal-fired power. However, continuing to rely on unproven innovation will no doubt result in Japan missing out on its chance to become a renewable energy leader” stated 350.org Senior Campaigner East Asia Finance, Shin Furuno.
In reality, Japan’s continuing support for coal-fired power development both domestically and overseas is a source of criticism from the international community. A recently published report (*3) shows that Japan provided annual public finance of at least ¥590 billion (US$5.2 billion) internationally for coal mining, coal-fired power production and export of coal power technologies between 2016-2017. It is the only G7 country with a significant pipeline of planned coal-fired power projects. Having this background, 51 civil society groups are calling on the Japanese Government, financial institutions and companies to increase their climate commitments and divest from coal fired power as part of the No Coal Japan campaign.
The Japanese Government should listen carefully to the voices of citizens worldwide and ensure that there is no backsliding on critical actions to address the climate crisis. The world is watching whether Prime Minister Abe will live up to his word and show real climate leadership.
[*1] No Coal Japan is working to ensure the Japanese Government, Japanese financial institutions and corporations stop supporting harmful new coal power projects in Japan and overseas. We are a coalition made up of dozens of civil society organisations, from Japan and around the world, working together to prevent the reckless rise of new coal plants. http://www.nocoaljapan.org/
Yasuhiko Seki, 350.org Japan
Email: [email protected]
Eri Watanabe, 350.org Japan
Email: [email protected]
You can view the full photos and stories of the campaign on NO COAL JAPAN website : http://www.nocoaljapan.org/ja/