ISE, MIE PREF. – Nongovernmental organizations fighting climate change on Thursday urged leaders of the Group of Seven countries to swiftly implement the ambitious pledges they made in Paris in December and criticized Japan for thwarting efforts to reduce fossil fuels.
On the sidelines of the G-7 summit in Mie Prefecture, Climate Action Network Japan (CANJ), a conglomerate of 14 private organizations combating climate change, stressed the leaders must scale up climate actions and phase out fossil fuels in accordance with the Paris Agreement unanimously agreed on by all participating nations last year.
Under the framework, governments agreed to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
“It is imperative that leaders attending this summit hammer out an ambitious, concrete message in line with the Paris Agreement” to combat climate change, Masayoshi Iyoda, a researcher at Kiko Network, which is part of CANJ, said.
To this end, CANJ urged the G-7 leadership to ratify the agreement as soon as possible to achieve its swift entry into force and show commitment to phasing out fossil fuels. They called coal the “most carbon-intensive dirtiest” energy source.
The group singled out Japan for criticism, saying it keeps blindly investing in coal-related projects.
A recent report co-written by several organizations, including the New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council, shows Japan is “by far the worst offender” in terms of public financing for coal projects worldwide, spending $22 billion from 2007 to 2015, said Kate De Angelis, an international policy analyst for Friends of the Earth U.S., at a news conference Thursday.
“In order to have at least a 50 percent chance of avoiding the worst impact of climate change, we must stop all new fossil fuel-fired power plants by 2017. That’s next year,” Angelis said, quoting a recent Oxford University study.
Meanwhile, citizens’ groups fighting the global refugee crisis revolving around Syria urged Japan to facilitate discussions among G-7 leaders to solve the problem.
Takakiyo Koizumi, policy advocacy chief for a group called Sadaqa, slammed a plan recently announced by the Japanese government to accept young Syrians as students, rather than refugees, as part of a broader effort to help stabilize the Middle East.
The plan, which aims to accept 150 Syrian students over the course of five years, falls far short of being a fundamental solution, Koizumi told reporters at a separate news conference.
Japan is using this type of “humanitarian” support as an “alibi” for not addressing the real cause of the conflict, Koizumi said, adding that even though this is a step forward by Japanese standards, “it is lukewarm” nonetheless.
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