Japanese NGOs call on JBIC to end coal financing

end coal financing

Japanese NGOs are calling on the JBIC to follow others in ending coal financing overseas. Creative Commons: Eric Schmuttenmaer, 2010

Japanese environmental NGOs are calling for the Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s (JBIC) to end its continued financing of coal-fired power plants.

The NGOs – JACSES, Kiko Network and Friends of the Earth Japan – are calling on the bank to stop using tax and public fund to finance dirty coal power, which is having a negative impact on the climate, health and livelihoods around the world.

The campaign follows similar campaigns in the US and UK which have seen the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announce restrictions on coal funding.

Other public financial institutions including the Nordic Investment Bank, the French Investment Bank, the French and British development agencies (AFD and CDC) and the US export credit agency (Ex-Im Bank) have made similar moves.

The NGOs are calling for Japan to follow the trend by ending its financial support for coal-fired power plants and move towards greener energy financing.

They warn that while other banks are moving away from this destructive energy form, the Japanese government continues to promote policies that support coal projects.

In the last 10 years, the JBIC has helped fund 21 coal-fired power projects in developing countries – with investments and loans totalling more than 680 million yen.

This includes 5 projects in Indonesia, 5 in India, 4 in Vietnam and 2 in the Philippines.

In a single year, the groups say CO2 emissions from these projects can total 120 million tonnes. That’s equivalent to a tenth of Japan’s annual emissions.

Coal is a particular concern for environmental NGOs, accounting for 30% of total human CO2 emissions worldwide, and 72% of CO2 emissions from global power generation.

But pollution from burning coal is not limited to damaging our climate, it is also having a major, immediate impact on public health. Medical studies paint a stark picture: pollution from coal causes over 100,000 deaths in India, 18,200 deaths in Europe, 13,200 in deaths in the US every year.

As the shift of large financial institutions shows, coal is quickly losing supporters. It is becoming a risky, unproductive business to invest in – with the looming threat of a carbon bubble and increasing support for the clean energy transition.

As the JBIC consider financing yet another coal-fired plant in Indonesia – a project that has been met with strong local criticism – Japanese NGOs have joined with 90 organisations from across 27 countries to call on the bank to reject financing for the project.

They urge the bank – which is the largest international public finance institutions still continuing to support the dirtiest power plants – to join the growing international consensus to stop financing coal-projects aboard.

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