Home Green Energy COP28: Pikachu-clad activists call on Japan to end financing fossil fuels

COP28: Pikachu-clad activists call on Japan to end financing fossil fuels

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A global coalition of civil society groups organised a demonstration at the COP28 climate negotiations in the UAE on “Finance Day” to demand that the Japanese government stops financing new fossil fuel projects and shift support to renewable energy. The action featured activists wearing inflatable Pikachu costumes and a slogan calling on Japan to #SayonaraFossilFuels (say no to fossil fuels).

Despite the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels, Japan is driving the expansion of liquified gas (LNG) and other fossil-based technologies like ammonia co-firing across Asia and globally. This will worsen the climate crisis and harm communities and ecosystems. Communities and movements are rising up – particularly in the Global South – to oppose Japan’s efforts to derail the transition to renewable-based energy systems.

“It is despicable that Japan still clings to its outdated and destructive ways over the needs of the planet and the Global South. While Japan has placed its dirty energy projects in various Asian countries, communities did not ask for the environmental impact of these projects to be dumped onto them,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development.

Nacpil went one: “The fossil fuel giant is willingly leading the region towards climate collapse through its false solutions like hydrogen and ammonia co-firing, and we simply do not accept this. Countries like Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines have had enough of fossil fuels, and demand nothing less than a complete phase out of fossil-based energy systems and a rapid, equitable, and just transition towards renewable energy to save us from this crisis.”

During his COP28 speech, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida promoted the Asia Zero Emissions Community, a framework for encouraging governments in the region to increase reliance on LNG and other fossil-based technologies in their own national decarbonisation and energy plans.

Prime Minister Kishida is convening an ASEAN/Japan 50th Anniversary Summit on December 16-18 after COP to further encourage Southeast Asian heads of state to back Japan’s fossil fuel-based technologies.

“It’s time to say Sayonara to fossil fuels, but Japan has been failing to do so. It has been the biggest financier of the climate crisis in the world, and by doing so destroyed local communities and environments around the Verde Island Passage in the Philippines, the Gulf coast in the U.S., to name just a few. Japan’s push for fossil fuels is vigorously opposed by people around the world, as witnessed in this action in Dubai. Japan, it’s time to say Sayonara to fossil fuels,” said Hiroki Osada, Development Finance and Environment Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Japan.

Japan is the world’s second largest provider of international public finance for fossil fuels, according to a new backgrounder by Oil Change International.

Japan spent at least $6.9 billion on new oil, gas, and coal projects each year on average from 2020 to 2022. Japan is also the world’s largest provider of international public finance of fossil gas and has been driving the expansion of gas across Asia and globally.

The country is also the world’s top provider of international public finance for LNG export capacity, providing 50 percent of global international public finance, or $39.7 billion, for LNG export capacity projects built from 2012 to 2022 and projects under construction or expected to be built by 2026.

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) authoritative World Energy Outlook 2023 shows oil, gas, and coal demand plateauing this decade, and confirms that no new oil and gas investment can be permitted if the world is to keep to the 1.5 degree Celsius goal of the Paris Agreement.

“Japan’s $10 million loss and damage pledge is nothing compared to the billions it spends to endanger countries like the Philippines with its fossil fuel obsession. Japanese financiers are blocking the energy transition in Southeast Asia by fueling its gas boom. In the Philippines, Japan is using public funds to help destroy our own Amazon of the oceans, Verde Island Passage, with LNG,” said Krishna Ariola, Founding Convenor, Youth for Climate Hope, Philippines.

“Japan’s push for false solutions also risks tying us to decades more of fossil fuels, even when a 100% transition to renewables can already be underway. Japan owes it to vulnerable nations to deliver climate leadership, but it chooses instead to rob the hope for a livable future from generations to come,” Ariola added.

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