Greenpeace are urging world leaders to use this year’s G7 Summit to continue plans to decarbonise the global economy. They want the world to step away from fossil fuels and adopt steps that will comply with a less than 2˚C economy. Greenpeace want to see progress in the form of strict deadlines and long-term plans.
Jens Mattias Clausen, Senior Climate Change Advisor at Greenpeace, said: “The Earth’s surface temperatures last year were the highest ever recorded, and more than 1˚C above pre-industrial levels.
“Global warming appears to be accelerating and 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.”
Greenpeace say 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. They are calling for an end to the public financing of coal.
In particular, Greenpeace thinks Japan must quickly 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 gigawatts (GW) of capacity.
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Hisayo Takada, Deputy Programme Director at Greenpeace Japan said: “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.”
Greenpeace highlighted that the Fukushima catastrophe has re-written Japan’s energy landscape, and turned the government’s dreams for nuclear energy into a fantasy. Hisayo Takada added: “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.
“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.”