G7 leaders must move faster on promise to decarbonise global economy

greenpeaceTokyo, 26 May 2016 – World leaders in Japan for the G7 Summit must use the opportunity to build on last year’s commitment to decarbonise the global economy over the course of this century, says Greenpeace. Since then the Paris Agreement has been adopted and now signed by more than 170 nations.

“The Earth’s surface temperatures last year were the highest ever recorded, and more than 1C above pre-industrial levels. Global warming appears to be accelerating,” said Jens Mattias Clausen, Senior Climate Change Advisor at Greenpeace.

“This should serve as a warning to G7 leaders that their commitments last year are nothing like urgent enough to tackle climate change. The G7 must act on what it has already pledged, and go further.”

This year’s summit should set a deadline of 2018 for G7 countries to develop long-term decarbonisation plans which lay out a clear plan for transitioning to 100% renewable energy by mid-century at the latest, and end any support for, or investment in, fossil fuels.  There must be an end to the public financing of coal.

In particular, Japan must rapidly catch up with its G7 partners in shifting away from coal.  All other G7 nations have announced plans to close or retire coal plants, but Japan is moving in the opposite direction with plans to build nearly 50 coal-fired power plants, with over 25 GW of capacity.

“Japan is playing Jekyll and Hyde – signing up to the phase-out of fossil fuels at last year’s summit in Germany yet expanding the financing of coal-plants in Japan and Southeast Asia.  These two positions are incompatible and unacceptable for a nation holding the presidency of the G7,” said Hisayo Takada, deputy programme director at Greenpeace Japan.

The Fukushima catastrophe has re-written Japan’s energy landscape, and turned the government’s dreams for nuclear energy into a fantasy.

“The government needs to revise its energy plans now, recognising that nuclear will never again play a significant role in keeping the lights on.  It should shift the focus to renewables.  Coal must not be allowed to plug the gap left by the ghosts of nuclear power. Japan has to end its support for coal both at home and across Asia,” said Hisayo Takada.

“It’s not acceptable for Japanese banks to finance coal-fired power plants overseas.  If all current plans go ahead, there will be thousands of premature deaths across Asia because of air pollution, and we will throw away our chance of limiting  global temperature rise to 1.5 C, as all countries agreed in Paris.”