U.S. green groups ask Japan's leader to stop supporting overseas coal plants

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U.S. green groups ask Japan's leader to stop supporting overseas coal plants

Now that the United States and other countries are actively restricting funding for overseas coal plants, environmental groups are leaning on other countries to do the same. In a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leading environmental groups declared that it is time for Japan to follow suit. "If Japan continues on its current course, it will fall further behind the rest of the international community in the fight against climate change," groups led by Oil Change International and the Sierra Club wrote. The letter came as President Obama kicked off a tour of Asia, beginning in Japan. He met with Abe yesterday, and the leaders had a private dinner at a world-class sushi restaurant. His formal state visit begins today. Climate change is not slated to be on the agenda, which will focus on U.S. security and economic pledges as part of Obama's "pivot to Asia." But the issues are looming, particularly as Obama travels later next week to the Philippines, rocked last year by a devastating typhoon. The United States last year pledged to rein in funding for overseas coal through the World Bank as well as the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The new restrictions, later followed by the World Bank itself as well as the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Nordic countries, call for America to oppose coal plants in all but the very poorest countries unless a project deploys carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology.