Hundreds of civil society organisations from dozens of countries have taken to the streets around the world to demand that the G7 stop peddling fossil fuels to developing countries and stop promoting false solutions to the climate crisis.
About 50 actions have taken place in 22 countries to mark the G7 Summit taking place right now in Hiroshima in Japan. The particular focus of concern is the host nation Japan, which is seen as a climate villain as it is driving gas expansion and promoting fossil-based false solution technologies like ammonia, nuclear and carbon, capture and storage.
The actions which are spanning the globe have occurred in places such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, United States and Ukraine as part of a week of action to pressurise Japan and the other G7 nations to take radical action on the climate and stop funding fossil fuels.
Here are some of the pictures of the actions:
This week, activists mobilized roughly 50 actions across 21 countries to pressure Japan to stop derailing the global energy transition and promoting fossil fuels in the lead up to G7 Summit in Hiroshima from May 19-21. Check out some of the actions to stop #JapansDirtyG7 below ?? pic.twitter.com/UY6ea42ky6
— Oil Change International (@PriceofOil) May 18, 2023
Environmental activists hold placards next to Japanese anime character during a protest organized in front of the Japanese embassy to call on Japan, host country of the G7 Leaders' Summit, to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
? AFP/Ted Aljibe pic.twitter.com/doKjJGHTkg
— Philstar.com (@PhilstarNews) May 18, 2023
With two days to the #G7Summit in Japan, we took our message for Japan to stop fueling the climate crisis to the Japanese Embassy in Washington. @SierraClub @foe_us @PublicCitizen #JapanLovesDirtyEnergy #FossilFreeJapan
Sign the petition: https://t.co/QZpxzOrTG7 pic.twitter.com/8Z3JAwQHdO
— Mighty Earth ? (@StandMighty) May 17, 2023
The week of action also included a full-page advert in the Financial Times:
? ? Here's the #FossilFreeJapan ad in today's Asian edition of the @FinancialTimes demanding Japan stop derailing the global energy transition and stop prolonging fossil fuel-use! As the host of G7 meetings that start tomorrow, Japan must put people + planet above dirty energy. pic.twitter.com/WqIexDYhpZ
— Oil Change International (@PriceofOil) May 18, 2023
The reason why so much focus is on Japan is that the country is mobilizing a staggering USD1.1 trillion in public and private financing for its Green Transformation (GX) strategy, which includes ammonia co-firing at coal plants, hydrogen, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage. Critics, however, point out that these technologies will not help attain the desired cuts in carbon dioxide emissions in Japan and across Asia. Most ammonia and hydrogen are produced from fossil gas, which generates methane emissions throughout the gas lifecycle.
Civil society is not alone in targeting Japan. The host nation has recently been criticized by fellow G7 members for using its role as host to promote its fossil fuel-heavy energy strategy across Asia and worldwide and to derail the global energy transition.
Just prior to this weekend’s G7 Leaders Summit, Japan’s Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida toured four African countries, with the intent for the G7 to deepen its ties in the region “by focusing on investing in people and the quality of growth.” During his trip, he signed an agreement to help revive gas development projects in Mozambique and encouraged Japanese companies to increase investment in liquified natural gas (LNG).
Japan is also in the spotlight as one of the world’s top providers of international public finance for gas and fossil fuels. The country spends $6.9 billion on average from 2020-2022 on new gas, oil, and coal projects. Japan is also the world’s top funder of hazardous liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminals, spending nearly $40 billion from 2012-2022.
But Japan is not the only country at fault. The civil society groups have also been highlighting the fact that despite the urgent need for climate action and leadership from the group, the G7 has fallen short in meeting last year’s commitment to stop funding fossil fuels.
The powerful economic bloc continues to spend billions on fossil fuels, despite scientists warning this week that the window to keep warming to 1.5 degrees is rapidly closing. The world’s energy watchdog, the International Energy Agency has also said no new oil and gas fields and LNG infrastructure are needed in the 2050 net-zero pathway.
For example, a recent OCI analysis shows that between 2020 and 2022, the G7 poured USD73 billion in public finance into new fossil fuel projects, 2.6 times their support for clean energy over the same period.
While the UK, Canada, and France have delivered their commitment to ending this fossil fuel finance, Japan, Italy, and Germany have not. In addition, there are signals of dangerous backsliding by other G7 countries. Germany recently got exposed for pushing fellow G7 members to endorse public investments in gas, a demand already rejected by the UK and France.
There has also been a letter sent to the G7 from 181 civil society groups, including groups from Africa, Asia and the US, demanding that world leaders fully close the door to investments in new oil and gas production and LNG infrastructure.
Instead the G7 are being urged to shift billions in public money out of fossil fuels and into the clean energy solutions that can build a more energy secure, sustainable, and affordable future.
Speaking as the G7 started, Susanne Wong, Asia Program Manager, Oil Change International, said that Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida is using the “G7 presidency to benefit Japanese corporate interests over the health and security of people and our planet. Japan must stop derailing the global energy transition by pushing for the expansion of fossil gas and other dirty fossil-based technologies.”
Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International added “The G7 must commit to providing a clear pathway for the phasing out of all fossil fuels and the immediate termination on any further expansion of production domestically and abroad.”
Ayumi Fukakusa, Deputy Executive Director, Friends of the Earth Japan also said: “Japan, as G7 President, must commit to a full fossil fuel phase out and stop blocking efforts to phase out coal and fossil fuels at the G7.”
And given the backdrop of Ukraine war, there was even a message from Kiev to the G7 too, amongst the protests:
Message from #Kyiv to @JPN_PMO @kishida230: the path to #energysecurity and #peace requires cutting down the dependency on russian #fossilfuels. We call on #Japan to stop funding war and fulfill the #G7 pledge to stop fueling climate chaos. #JapansDirtyG7 #SoakedInFossilFuels pic.twitter.com/lEzg171thY
— RazomWeStand ?? (@RazomWeStand) May 18, 2023