Comment: There are worrying signs from Berlin and Tokyo backtracking on their promise to end public funding of fossil fuel projects overseas by the end of the year
The recent commitment by G7 Energy, Climate and Environment Ministers to end public funding of fossil fuel projects overseas by the end of 2022 was an important step.
This means that Japan joins the other members of the G7, which have already adopted a almost identical commitment at the 2021 United Nations climate conference, by redirecting its public finances towards clean energy. It is important. Japan is the second largest provider of public funding for fossil fuels, contributing $11 billion in dirty fossil fuel projects overseas every year.
This pledge is also a welcome reaffirmation of the Glasgow Promise to other G7 members. Amid worrying signs of backsliding – mainly from Germany and Japan – we urge the G7 not to water down the ministerial commitment at next week’s summit.
Prioritizing public finance for clean energy and energy efficiency is key to mitigating the climate crisis and addressing energy security and development needs.
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By fulfilling its commitment, the G7 commitment can change $33 billion every year from fossil fuels to clean energy. This would go a long way toward meeting at least the mitigation finance portion of the still-unfulfilled commitment to invest $100 billion a year to support climate action in developing countries.
This shift is also critical to achieving energy security and development goals, as clean energy and energy efficiency solutions offer the best short- and long-term options for construction. a safer, sustainable and secure future. However, the commitment does not seem to have been acquired yet.
In recent weeks there have been has been signals countries potentially in decline by investing in gas and LNG to replace Russian supply. Chancellor Scholz has been registered saying he intensely wants to pursue gas projects in Senegal. We hear from G7 negotiators from other G7 countries that Germany is even trying to weaken the official G7 text in this regard that would undermine the 1.5C limit. The Japanese government seems to believe that, despite its promise to the G7, it can continue to finance upstream oil and gas projects.
For the new German government, which is hosting the G7 for the first time, a weakening of the ministerial commitment to reorienting finances in the declaration of the G7 leader would be particularly bad for Japan. The Japanese government has already played a critical role in watering down the pledge, creating exceptions to supposedly help countries meet their climate and national security goals, when these would have the exact opposite effect. .
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Japan will have to do an about-face to meet its pledge to end funding for all fossil fuels by the end of this year.
The Japanese government has been driving the expansion of gas infrastructure in Asia and around the world. Last May, Japan announced the Asia Energy Transition Initiative (AETI)which includes $10 billion in financial support to develop LNG demand in Asia.
In April, Japan agreed to help the Indonesian government develop hydrogen, ammonia and carbon capture for “realistic energy transitions”. Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is currently planning a feasibility study on the use of ammonia at the Suralaya coal-fired power station. This Suralaya complex sits next to the controversial Jawa 9 and 10 coal-fired power stations, where communities are already suffering from high levels of air pollution and damage to the sea and the local fishing industry.
Prime Minister Kishida is considering plans to export technology to capture carbon and co-combuste ammonia in coal-fired power plants”the key to decarbonizing while using fossil fuels”.
Japan’s continued promotion of fossil fuel expansion threatens its own economy and energy security, especially in light of volatile gas prices. It also undermines the energy and climate security of Asian countries. Five of the top ten countries with the highest rates climate risk are in South and Southeast Asia.
As the G7 leaders meet, we need them to address the multiple crises we face in energy security, climate, food security and the war in Ukraine. Plans to focus on building new gas infrastructure to improve energy security are short-sighted.
Research shows that with sufficient investment in energy efficiency and renewables, and using existing LNG infrastructure, the is it’s not necessary investment in new LNG infrastructure to replace Russian supply. Clean energy solutions can be deployed quickly without the price volatility, stranded asset risks, and time required to develop new fossil fuel infrastructure.
This moment requires unwavering leadership, courage and vision. The G7 ministerial commitment should not be watered down and it should not be another empty promise. We need G7 leaders to remain firm in their commitment to end public funding of fossil fuels abroad and redirect investment to clean energy. This will help build the more peaceful, sustainable, equitable and energy-secure future that we so desperately need.
Thuli Makama is the Africa Program Director for Oil Change International, Zenzi Suhadi is the Executive Director of the Indonesian NGO WALHI National and Christoph Bals is the Policy Director at Germanwatch