Leaders of the G7 nations meeting in Japan must use this opportunity to build on decarbonization commitments, says Greenpeace.
This year’s G7 summit, currently being held in Shima, Japan, is an opportunity attendants must use to build on last year’s G7 commitment to decarbonize the global economy over the remainder of this century, said Greenpeace in a statement released this week. Paired with the recent signing of the Paris Agreement, the G7 countries, now more than ever, must showcase their global leadership and further build on their past commitments.
“The Earth’s surface temperatures last year were the highest ever recorded, and more than 1C above pre-industrial levels,” said Jens Mattias Clausen, Senior Climate Change Advisor at Greenpeace. “Global warming appears to be accelerating. 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.”
Specifically, Greenpeace is calling on the G7 leaders to set a deadline of 2018 for their countries to develop long-term decarbonization plans “which lay out a clear plan for transitioning to 100% renewable energy by mid-century at the latest.”
Unsurprisingly, Japan is being specifically targeted by Greenpeace as needing to catch up to the rest of its G7 brethren. Japan is currently set on moving forward with the development of 47 new coal-fired electricity generating plants, despite falling coal use across the rest of the G7.
“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,” said Hisayo Takada, Deputy Program Director at Greenpeace Japan. “These two positions are incompatible and unacceptable for a nation holding the presidency of the G7.”
Greenpeace and Takada point to the Fukushima disaster of 2011 as a turning point for Japan, a turning point Japan ignored. Instead of a planned nuclear future, and ignoring calls to focus on renewable energy, Japan is doubling-down on coal.
“The government needs to revise its energy plans now, recognizing 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.”
“It’s not acceptable for Japanese banks to finance coal-fired power plants overseas,” Takada concluded. “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.”
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