East Asia Climate Network

November 11th 2015

Joint Statement by Citizens of Japan-China-Korea towards strengthening climate change policies and establishing a sustainable East Asia

Currently, occurrences such as increase in temperature, rise in sea levels, decrease of sea ice, glaciers, and permafrost, and the acidification of oceans on a global scale are affecting the lands and seas around the world. As a result, negative impacts like droughts, low agricultural production and rise in food prices are becoming apparent in various regions. Even in East Asia, the negative consequences of global warming can be clearly seen. In order to avoid dangerous climate change, it is the universal goal to limit warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, meaning it is necessary to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 to 70 percent compared with 2010 by year 2050 and to zero or less by year 2100. 

The 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) beginning from November 30th, 2015 is expected to deliver an agreement that includes fair and ambitious targets for all countries to avoid the risks of climate change. In this regard, Japan, China and Korea, which accounts for one third of the global greenhouse gas emissions, seem to have huge responsibility. Therefore, we the citizens of Japan, China and Korea aim to call out various sectors including governments, corporations, and civil societies for what has been said below, and cooperate together towards a meaningful agreement at COP21 so that a sustainable low carbon society is realized. 

         【Moving away from the main-culprit-of-climate-change coal】

  1. To achieve the “2 degrees Celsius goal for climate stability, it is required that the mining and consumption of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas need to be reduced. In this context, the recent downward trend in coal consumption in China attracts attention. Moreover, Japan, China and Korea occupy from first to third in the amount of public financing (or public investment) towards coal-related projects abroad. Thus the role that these three countries play in stopping governmental pubic support toward coal projects is huge. In addition, it is expected for the international community to withdraw the public funds from these areas. Therefore, we strongly welcome China’s decision, issued in a joint statement between United States and China on climate change on September 25th 2015, to restrain public funds from highly polluted, high carbon projects both domestic and abroad. This kind of policy should be established in main public financial institutions like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Korea Eximbank, and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). In other words, we request Japan, China and Korea to take the initiative to strive towards a sustainable society by making the transition to an energy system which moves away from fossil fuels like coal both domestic and abroad.

    【Not an inappropriate solution, but an enhancement of energy efficiency and renewable energy】

  2. Given the tragic accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, there are still hundred thousands of residents who are yet unable to return home. Furthermore, the atmosphere, land, rivers, and ocean still continue to be polluted by radiation. Moving away from relying on nuclear power plants is the most certain way to avoid the same thing happening again. Moreover, a way to dispose radioactive waste from used nuclear fuel has not been established, burdening future generations in terms of the accumulation of highly polluted substances. In addition, The Fifth IPCC Assessment Report and other studies indicate that price competitiveness of nuclear power plant is declining, and an ambitious measure against climate change is technically and economically possible without relying on nuclear power plants. As such, by not viewing nuclear power plants as a solution for climate change and by reducing energy consumption as much as possible, establish an all renewable energy society in East Asia.

    【East Asian cooperation in responding to peace and climate change】

  3. After 70 years from World War 2, the year 2015 is an important year to reflect back on history and to think about the meaning of peace. The effects of climate change are directly related to food and energy issues while increase the risk of dispute and refugee generation. And war is the utmost environmental damage. From this perspective, the significance of Japanese, Chinese and Korean citizens collaborating to tackle a common issue like climate change to establish a sustainable East Asia is huge. Overcoming political and emotional conflict, we will perpetuate East Asia as a peaceful region by mutual understanding and friendship.