Climate activists demand end to public finance for fossil fuels
Activists speak out against harm caused by Japanese-financed fossil fuel projects at the COP27 summit
November 9, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt — A global coalition of civil society groups organized a demonstration at the COP27 climate negotiations in Egypt on “Finance Day” to demand wealthy governments stop financing new fossil fuel projects and shift investments to renewable energy.
A recent report from Friends of the Earth U.S. and Oil Change International found Japan, South Korea, and China were among the top providers of international public finance for fossil fuels, with fossil support amounting to USD 24.6 billion during 2019-2022. The three East Asian countries also led the world in public finance for new gas infrastructure projects.
The Japanese government was also revealed as the world’s top financier of fossil fuels, according to a new briefing from Oil Change International. Japan spent an average of USD 10.6 billion of public finance on fossil fuel projects per year between 2019 and 2021. Japan is also the world’s largest financier of fossil gas and has been driving the expansion of gas across Asia and globally.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), accelerating investment in clean energy and efficiency — not new fossil fuels — is the answer to both the climate and energy security crises. The IEA’s recent World Energy Outlook from October 2022 clearly states, “No one should imagine that Russia’s invasion can justify a wave of new oil and gas infrastructure in a world that wants to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”
Ayumi Fukakusa, Climate and Energy Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Japan, said:
“While we are witnessing the climate crisis intensifying day by day, Japan stands out as the world’s largest financier of fossil fuels. This is worsening the climate and energy crises and destroying people’s livelihoods.
“There is no time to waste. The Japanese government must shift its support towards clean and democratic energy systems now.”
Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, said:
“This year, G7 climate, energy, and environment ministers — including Japan — committed to end international public finance for fossil fuels and shift it to clean energy. Now, we are seeing these same countries walk back on their word.
“Top fossil fuel financiers like Japan, South Korea, and China are leading with false narratives that would lock Asia into more greenhouse gas emissions. We call on these countries to immediately stop supporting all forms of fossil fuels and instead contribute to the rapid, equitable, and just transition to renewable and democratic energy systems in Asia.”
Krishna Ariola, Center for Energy, Ecology and Development, Philippines, said:
“The catastrophes suffered by the Philippines and other vulnerable peoples dictate the need for a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels. We are alarmed and appalled that countries whose people bear the brunt of the climate crisis are the ones still fueling coal, gas, and oil.
“In Southeast Asia and the Philippines, we have yet to break free from coal — yet we are already being diverted towards fossil gas dependence. This comes at the cost of our survival and the environments we live in. Verde Island Passage, considered the ‘Amazon of the Oceans’ due to its biodiversity, is the hotspot of rapid, massive gas expansion in the Philippines. This is just one of the many ecosystems being destroyed by gas.
“These threats to our livelihoods would not be possible without finance. Fossil finance is taking away the possibility of a clean energy future. We call on financiers to stop public finance for fossil fuels now!”
Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth International, said:
“One of the largest gas reserves found anywhere in the world in the last ten years is off the coast of Northern Mozambique, and the rich countries are all out to grab it. People who rely on the land and sea to survive have been dispossessed of their land and access to the sea. The gas grab has provoked an insurgency in Northern Mozambique that has created 1 million refugees out of 33 million people in the country. This is what gas is doing.”
“We say no to the Global North financing fossil fuel disasters in our countries. We say yes to community-based renewable energy for people. Don’t let Africa burn.”
Jinny Kim, International Communications Officer at Solutions for Our Climate, said:
“South Korea is the world’s third-largest public financier of overseas fossil fuels, along with other top financiers from Asia. And yet, it is missing from global commitments, such as the Glasgow statement, to phase out fossil fuels.
“At COP27 this year with the world gathered in the face of a climate emergency, we demand that the top Asian fossil fuel financiers stop funding fossil fuel expansion and transition their resources to accelerate a just renewable energy transition.”
- “At a Crossroads: Assessing G20 and MDB international energy finance ahead of stop funding fossils pledge deadline,” Friends of the Earth U.S. and Oil Change International, November 2022
- Japan’s Dirty Secret: World’s top fossil fuel financier is fueling climate chaos and undermining energy security,” Oil Change International, November 2022
- “Financing a Fossil Future: Tracing the Money Pipeline of Fossil Gas in Southeast Asia,” Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy Philippines, June 2022