Climate Action Network
July 15, 2020
Minister of Finance,
Mr. Taro Aso,
The COVID-19 pandemic keeps presenting real and immediate risks to people’s health and livelihoods and its socio-economic consequences have called for decisive action and strategic countercyclical fiscal policies.
COVID-19 comes on top of multiple crises our societies have been facing: climate emergency, biodiversity loss, and rising inequality. COVID-19 will shape our economy regardless, but the right menu of responses can reshape a better future. We understand the strong focus on social protection of fiscal measures put forward by the Japanese government. However, we note with great concern interventions in the energy market have not been implemented with a longer-term view and in the framework of sustainable development ensuring a green and fit for future energy system.
We welcome Japan’s initiative for a virtual platform to exchange on a green and just revitalization of the economy. International leadership is needed in these challenging times backed up by concrete and ambitious national policies. Any national stimulus packages must ensure the necessary transformation processes, and exclude any forms of fossil fuels from investment packages and include a high share of green investments such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, public transport, and efficient housing. Also, it should be prioritized to phase-out the dirtiest coal and the most dangerous nuclear, considering the environmental, economic and social consequences such as TEPCO Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
In these challenging times, we need leadership towards a more resilient future domestically and internationally. We call on you, Mr. Taro Aso to provide international leadership: One of the concrete next opportunities will be the G20 Finance Minister Summit on July 18-19: We call upon Japan to ensure a strong G20 call for a just and green recovery, and if necessary go beyond the G20 statement and issue an ambitious side statement for a green recovery.
The next decade is decisive to set the economy on a sustainable development pathway. The money spent in response to the COVID-19 crisis can make or break this opportunity. Foresight and vision are indispensable now, to develop a holistic approach which responds to the multiple phases of the crisis – shock, stabilization, and reboot.
Governments increasingly face the risk of adopting stimulus packages that exhaust the available fiscal resources without fulfilling the longer-term vision.
As we start to enter the phase of revitalization in many countries, Climate Action Network with its more than 1300-member organizations from 120 countries and CAN-Japan calls on Mr. Taro Aso, the Minister of Finance of Japan to commit to a strong and holistic vision for a future that is sustainable and just by:
- Ensuring that the post-corona economic stimulus packages are consistent with what is needed to implement the Paris Agreement, contribute to keeping global warming below 1.5°C and avoid locking-in future emissions;
- Ensuring equity and a just transition are at the heart of any government response to the current crisis;
- Excluding investments in harmful industries such as fossil fuel infrastructure, additional roads, aviation, automobile industries – other than those producing vehicles which do not run on fossil fuels;
- Ending fossil fuel subsidies, halting and rapidly reversing the loss of biodiversity and natural ecosystems, improving energy efficiency and promoting higher shares of renewables and ensuring socially sensitive carbon prices are introduced which reflect climate and equity imperatives;
- Introducing coal, oil, and gas consumption reduction targets in line with the 1.5C ambition of the Paris Agreement.
Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International
Kimiko Hirata, Director of Climate Action Network Japan (CAN-Japan)