7 May 2007, Kyoto, Japan — Greenpeace expressed shock at the statement delivered by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board Chair, Japan’s Finance Minister Koji Omi, on the penultimate day of the Bank’s 40th Annual Meeting in Kyoto. After acknowledging the vital role of renewable energy and energy efficiency in reducing Asia’s CO2 emissions, Minister Omi recklessly proposed that nuclear power could be “a key solution for the climate change problem” and praised initiatives that work to undermine the Kyoto Protocol, rather than ensure decisive steps towards meaningful emission cuts for the Kyoto Protocol’s continuation after 2012.
“Japan’s ADB Board Chair has dishonored Kyoto by failing to rally behind its continuation. The minister has also confused his role as Chairman of the ADB Board by pushing nuclear energy onto the ADB’s agenda. This is a disgrace”, said Greenpeace Japan Executive Director, Jun Hoshikawa.
“Kyoto is a source of great global pride. Instead of undercutting the climate accord, Japan should redouble its efforts to meet its Kyoto target, rather than support expensive and dangerous technologies such as nuclear. As the head of a development institution, Japan should make sure that the ADB is able to help developing countries decarbonize their economies”, Hoshikawa continued.
Greenpeace arrived in Kyoto with very specific demands for the ADB to phase out support for coal, to scale up the US$1 billion annual Clean Energy Initiative and to ensure that the funding facility is coal-free. Greenpeace welcomed announcements related to the ADB’s clean energy and environment package. The group voiced its dismay, however, over the ADB’s refusal to abandon coal.
“Supporting renewable energies without phasing out coal is only half of the solution to climate change. But the climate cannot be half-saved. We believe that a coal project in Vietnam which the ADB is currently considering to finance will be a test case that will demonstrate how serious the ADB is,” said Athena Ballesteros, Greenpeace International Asia regional climate campaigner.
The only solution to climate change is to channel investments towards renewable energy and energy efficiency. These solutions are ripe for investment and the industry is ready. “The renewable energy industry has matured and is fully geared up to meet the challenges of the electricity sector”, said Tulsi Tanti, CEO of Suzlon, Asia’s largest wind energy company.
Greenpeace’s global energy blueprint, ‘Energy Revolution’ 2 demonstrates that it is possible to ensure economic development and meet the demand of scientists to cut global CO2 emissions in half by 2050.
“The clean energy package and funding commitments unveiled at this meeting are clear steps forward. Continued support for coal and tolerance for nuclear, however, has taken the ADB five steps backward. The only pathway to Asia’s sustainable future is signposted ‘renewable energy and energy efficiency’ and we call on the ADB to lead Asia down that path”, concluded Ballesteros.