Japan leads overseas coal power project funding, report shows
By Paul Homewoodcc
The report was issued this week as Japan prepares to host a G7 summit which will include discussions on climate change. The environmental groups say Japan has failed to follow the Paris climate agreement.
According to the report, commissioned by groups including the National Resources Defence Council (NDRC) and the WWF, Japan led the G7 nations in coal power financing between 2007 and 2015, providing over half of the total funding for such projects through direct finance, guarantees, technical assistance and aid for coal power, mining and related projects.
Japan’s share of the total was $22bn, which amounts to 52 per cent of the $42bn provided by G7 nations. And, according to the report, Japan has a further $10bn of coal power projects in the pipeline, representing 29 GW of coal power projects. In 2015, Japan provided $1.4bn for overseas coal power projects out of a total $2.5bn from G7 countries.
The largest coal-fired power projects backed by the state-owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) are the 2000 MW Batang plant and the 2000 MW Tanjung Jati B plant expansion, both in Indonesia, and Mynamar’s 1280 MW Toyo-Thai plant.
Germany came in second, providing $9bn for such projects. Together the G7 nations have provided $5bn to South Africa, $5bn to India, £3bn to Indonesia, $3bn to the Philippines and $2.5bn to Vietnam, as well as other countries.
The JBIC provided the most funding, the report said, with German export credit firm Euler Hermes second.
"Japan continues to be the only G7 country undertaking a coal rush in spite of the Paris Agreement," said Kimiko Hirata, international director for Japanese NGO the Kiko Network, while Jake Schmidt, director of the NDRC’s international programme, said Japan was not following the Paris agreement.
“While Japanese officials say the right thing, the international community has seen Japan slyly continue to invest in dirty projects. Japan needs to reflect on the age-old saying: actions speak louder than words. It is time for them to end this public financing of overseas coal projects,” he said.
However, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has praised Japan for its leadership in exporting clean coal technologies. IEA spokesperson Deborah Adams told Power Engineering International that Japan is “a leader in the development of these important technologies which can reduce emissions of CO2 from coal-fired plant by more than 25 per cent from the global average in the near future.”
And Tokyo says it will monitor coal power facilities to ensure environmental stipulations are met.
"We will monitor and check annually on progress. If we find the power industry cannot reach its [climate] goal, we will consider new measures," Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa said.
This confirms earlier reports about Japan. But it is worth noting that our German friends are also dipping their bread.
Of course, Japan are quite correct in what they are doing. The most important thing they can do for countries like Myanmar is to provide cheap, reliable and clean coal power, which will even have the advantage of lowering CO2 emissions from any older, inefficient generators.
It is little surprise though that the likes of WWF oppose it.