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MUFG, Mizuho, SMBC stop exporting coal power

Help us send a message to the 3 megabanks’ shareholder meetings: “No More Export of Coal-Fired Power”

Various measures have been taken in response to the Coronavirus Crisis that the world is now facing. However, the climate crisis – humankind’s greatest crisis – has not paused and cannot be ignored. The threat of the climate crisis is already a reality, as powerful typhoons, hurricanes, and floods increase year on year, along with record-breaking forest fires and droughts, the acidification of the oceans and, due to these, reduced yields in agriculture and fisheries and the emergence of climate refugees.

Although experts warned of the risk of a pandemic, their voices were ignored. This failure must not be repeated. Scientists have warned us for decades that if we continue on our present path, we risk starting a vicious spiral that we will be unable to reverse as global warming itself becomes the cause of further warming. When this happens, the Earth’s temperature will continue to rise no matter what steps we take to try and stop it. It is said that the next few years will decide the fate of the human race. There is hardly any time left to avoid this disastrous vicious cycle. To achieve a dramatic reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions within the next ten years will require every sector of the society to work together to rapidly change our current economic and social system dependent on fossil fuels.

The main cause of our climate crisis is the greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels. The U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that to maintain a sustainable global environment and avoid climate breakdown, we must reduce the Earth’s average temperature to within 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial level in line with the targets agreed on at the Paris Agreement. In order to achieve this, it is essential that the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, which emit the highest levels of greenhouse gases, is not allowed anywhere in the world. OECD countries including Japan must abolish coal-fired power plants totally by 2030, and the rest of the world by 2040.

Japan’s 3 megabanks (Mizuho, Mitsubishi UFJ and SMBC), which hold the top three places in the world in lending for coal developers, are deeply implicated in the acceleration of the climate crisis by continuing financing for coal-fired power projects such as Cirebon 2 in Indonesia. Each of these banks has announced policies to limit their financing for coal-fired power projects, but these fall far below compliance with the Paris Agreement and the policies of banks in the West. Moreover, these policies contain big loopholes and they are seemingly now considering to finance the Vung Ang 2 coal-fired power plant in Vietnam, amidst surging international criticism over Japan’s export of coal-fired technology. Whether they will push ahead with this project will be a critical test for the real value of their policies.

The construction of the Vung Ang 2 coal-fired power plant would not only cause air pollution which threatens the health and livelihoods of local residents, but will lock Vietnam into decades of high CO2 emissions, acting as a damper on the development of green energy. Many parts of the world, including Vietnam, are competitively placed to benefit more from solar and wind power than from coal-fired power generation. There are risks that coal-fired power plants would be the stranded assets, and many investors have already divested from coal. Moreover, other major banks have already withdrawn from the Vung Ang 2 project, so the decisions of the 3 megabanks are attracting attention. 

Leading up to the shareholder meetings of these three megabanks in just a few weeks, let us appeal for them to strengthen their climate commitments.

  • As a responsible leader in the financial world, work for the creation of a sustainable society and develop a fossil fuel phase-out strategy starting with coal, in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Stop using loopholes to support the export of coal-fired power plants, and change your policies to invest in energy efficiency and decentralized deforestation-free renewable power generation that will support the future benefit of recipient countries.

Please sign in support of this appeal to help send our demands to the 3 megabanks.

Deadline: Monday, 22nd June, 2020, 9:00am JST(GMT+9)

Contact: 350.org Japan ([email protected])

Addresses for Appeals:

Mr. Hironori Kamezawa, President & Group CEO, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Mr. Tatsufumi Sakai, President & Group CEO, Mizuho Financial Group

Mr. Jun Ohta, President & Group CEO, SMBC Group

Organizing Groups:

350.org Japan

Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES)

Fair Finance Guide Japan

Kiko Network

Friends of the Earth Japan

Mekong Watch

Greenpeace Japan

Rainforest Action Network

Reclaim Finance

We are calling on:

Mr. Hironori Kamezawa, President & Group CEO, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Mr. Tatsufumi Sakai, President & Group CEO, Mizuho Financial Group
Mr. Jun Ohta, President & Group CEO, SMBC Group

Please strengthen your climate commitments:

  • As a responsible leader in the financial world, work for the creation of a sustainable society and develop a fossil fuel phase-out strategy starting with coal, in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Stop using loopholes to support the export of coal-fired power plants, and change your policies to invest in energy efficiency and decentralized deforestation-free renewable power generation that will support the future benefit of recipient countries.

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