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2014 February 12 - 18 [ENVIRONMENT]

Don’t use taxpayer money for coal-fired energy projects abroad: environmental NGOs

February 16, 2014
Three environmental non-government organizations in Japan launched a joint campaign calling on the government-funded Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to stop financing overseas projects to construct coal-fired power plants.

The Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), Kiko Network, and FoE Japan on February 3 sent to the JBIC a statement demanding that the bank change the lending policy. The statement was endorsed by 90 citizens’ organizations in 27 countries.

Coal-fired power generation emits more greenhouse gases than other types of electricity producing options. U.S. President Barack Obama in June last year imposed restrictions on U.S. banks’ financing for coal-fired power plant projects outside the country. Following this, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank also announced similar measures.

In contrast, the Abe government in June 2013 issued its economic growth strategy in which it showed its intention to promote thermal power generation using coal and LNG in Japan and seek to boost the export of this technology. Prime Minister Abe Shinzo has eagerly made visits to several countries to promote Japan’s thermal power generation technology.

The JBIC, which is 100% operated by the Japanese government, is now considering financing projects to build coal-fired power plants in Indonesia, India, Morocco and Vietnam.

The financial institution plans to provide money for a 400 billion yen project in which Itochu Co. and Electric Power Development Co. (J-Power) will construct a massive thermal power plant in Jawa Tengar, Indonesia.

As the power plant construction will occupy local people’s land and fishing grounds, they are raising voices of protest against the construction by saying, “Coal kills our future”, Mitsuta Kanna of FoE Japan reported. The residents’ and citizens’ organizations are waging protests in front of the Japanese embassy in Jakarta, she added.

Tanabe Yuki of JACSES said, “If the Japanese government intends to support developing countries, it should provide them with support for developing renewable energy technology.”
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