The Japanese government was expected to finalise a policy review on Thursday that sustains some support for new overseas coal-power projects, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
In a concession to climate-change concerns, the new policy will include for the first time a requirement that recipient countries commit to long-term “decarbonisation” plans, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
But leaving the door open to new coal projects would be a blow to efforts to halt the nation’s support for the dirtiest fossil fuel. Ending its
use is considered a priority for nations to meet their climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, which
is aimed at avoiding rising global temperatures by
capping greenhouse gas emissions.
“If Japan continues thermal coal power funding in its infrastructure export strategy under some conditions it’s a missed opportunity to align its export finance with the Paris Agreement and help accelerate the much needed
energy transition towards zero-emissions solutions throughout Asia,” Rebecca Mikula-Wright, a director with Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, said in an emailed statement.
As investors and governments take up the fight against climate change, Japan has come under increasing scrutiny for encouraging its industrial and financial giants to back coal’s use.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries in December to stop building new coal plants after this year. The four-month review, called for by Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi and coordinated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet office, was expected to be finalised.