Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Japan’s alleged ‘harmful and detrimental’ LNG financing sparks global protests

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Gusty da Costa

Journalist

Editor

Interview

Fishermen, local communities, indigenous groups and environmental activists around the world are lashing out at Japan and its export credit agency, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). They are uniting against public financing from Japan for natural gas (LNG) projects that will allegedly have ‘harmful and detrimental’ environmental and human rights impacts.

The protests, led by communities in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh, the United States, Mozambique, Canada and Australia, seek to draw the attention of G7 climate, energy and environment ministers to the alleged injustices surrounding the impacts of Japanese LNG financing on biodiversity, livelihood sustainability and community safety. The demonstrators persuaded Japan to end societal harm by ceasing its financial support for fossil fuel exploitation.

According to a report by Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth US, Japan is providing an average of US$6.9 billion per year for fossil fuels compared to US$2.3 billion for clean energy between 2020 and 2022 − even though the International Energy Agency (IEA) has stated that no new upstream gas projects or LNG terminals should be built to keep the planet from exceeding agreed climate threshold targets.

Japan is also a major supporter of projects in upstream fossil fuel production, providing USD 2.5 billion per year − accounting for almost half (49 percent) of all upstream fossil fuel financing − despite the G7 countries also committing to end international public financing for fossil fuel projects,

“There is a clear pattern across JBIC-financed LNG projects. They are disastrous for climate change as well as for the livelihoods, health and security of local communities, biodiversity, and human rights,’ Hiroki Osada from Japan Friends of Earth said in a joint petition.

“Japan is using public funds to support the gas empire while trying to push LNG as a clean and necessary alternative to coal − when it’s not; gas can be just as bad for the climate as coal. JBIC-funded LNG projects exacerbate biodiversity loss, destroy livelihoods, cause long-term health problems, and forcibly displace indigenous peoples and local communities.”

The petition comes amidst a JBIC investigation into whether it failed to follow its own social and environmental guidelines in funding the first LNG import terminal in the Verde Island canal of the Philippines, known as the ‘Amazon of the Oceans’ and the ‘Center of Marine Biodiversity’. The investigation was triggered by previous petitions filed by local fishermen and communities pointing out the project’s adverse impacts on livelihoods, the absence of project land conversion permits, the absence of tree-cutting permits on project land clearing, and the project’s numerous violations of local environmental standards.

According to the Centre for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED), JBIC is the largest financier of fossil fuels in Southeast Asia with a total loan outstanding of US$3.3 billion since the Paris Agreement. In addition to the LNG import terminal in the Philippines, JBIC’s LNG portfolio in Southeast Asia includes: Thailand (gas-fired power plant supplied by Map Ta Phut LNG import terminal) that have led to a sharp decline in fish catches and restrictions on traditional hunting and fishing.

While in Indonesia, Fanny Tri Jambore, Head of Campaign Division at WALHI Indonesia (Indonesia Friend of Earth ) said JBIC-supported gas projects in Indonesia, such as the Java 1 Gas-to-Power project in West Java, Donggi-Senoro LNG in Central Sulawesi, and Tangguh LNG in West Papua, have caused significant environmental damage, reduced or even eliminated people’s livelihoods, and caused forced displacement of indigenous peoples and local communities. “With so many negative impacts on the environment and human rights, and in the midst of a heated global situation, there is no longer any reason for Japan to continue supporting fossil gas projects.”

JBIC also supports projects in Australia, Canada, and Mozambique that directly and indirectly affect community safety and the rights of indigenous peoples. In Australia, the Barossa gas field and Scarborough gas field are being run without the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of traditional landowners. In Canada, there was also no FPIC from the Indigenous Wet’suwet’en Nation for a pipeline project that was an integral part of a JBIC-funded LNG export facility, leading to the suppression of peacefully demonstrating land defenders. In Mozambique, a JBIC-supported project is about to restart amidst escalating chaos fuelled by rebel attacks as the project operator, Total Energies, refuses to provide protection to civilian victims at the project site.

JBIC projects are also feared to pose long-term hazards following explosions and various gas leaks that could cause severe health problems, such as asthma, heart disease, and cancer in local communities. The groups also said that JBIC projects threaten to drive electricity prices higher, which will further degrade the quality of life in developing countries like Bangladesh.

“Around the world we urge the JBIC and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida to stop financing fossil gas and contribute to a full, fair, rapid, funded and feminist energy transition to renewable energy,” the petition reads.

Gusty da Costa

Journalist

 

Editor

 

Interview

SUBSCRIBE NOW
We will provide you with an invoice for your reimbursable expenses.

Free

New to Indonesian market? Read our free articles before subscribing to the premium plan. If you already run your business in Indonesia, make sure to subscribe to the premium subscription so you won’t miss any intelligence & business opportunities.

Premium

$550 USD/Year

or

$45 USD/Month

Cancelation: you can cancel your subscription at any time, by sending us an email inquiry@ibp-media.com

Add keywords to your market watch and receive notification:
Schedule a free consultation with us:

We’ll contact you for confirmation.

FURTHER READING

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has called for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant Hamas in the wake of the seven-month conflict, with Israel threatening to invade Rafah, a city of 2.5 million people in Gaza Strip.
A number of parties have started to anticipate the impact of the conflict between Israel and Iran on investor interest in startups as the conflict can affect the macro economy, particularly in the Middle East.
President Xi Jinping has emphasized China’s commitment to improving the lives of its people and clarified its collaborative approach with other nations, entities such as APEC, and including superpowers like the United States, during a meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
China’s conditions for a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as outlined by China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS). The conditions set by the MSS include the United States showing sincerity for such a meeting to take place. 
China’s Global Security Initiative (GSI) is intensifying its campaign for an alternative to the US-led international order, connecting it to its peace plan for Ukraine and rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Sri Mulyani, Minister of Finance of Indonesia together with ASEAN +3 countries, renewed the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralism (CMIM). The guidelines will provide liquidity support with local currency for countries experiencing balance of payments difficulties.