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Japan’s CO2 export plans: 90 global NGOs petition against potential climate justice violations

NASIR HASHIM

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Kuala Lumpur/Tokyo – On 8 May, 90 civil society organisations [including Aliran] from 26 countries submitted a petition letter to the Japanese government demanding it not to export CO2 to other countries.

The Japanese Diet is currently debating the Carbon Capture and Storage Business Bill (CCS Bill) to set a legal framework for CCS business.

Meanwhile, Japanese corporations are already pushing CCS projects in the region. Since 2022, they have signed at least 15 agreements to export CO2 to other countries in the region, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia, often with oil and gas giants such as ExxonMobil.

Climate experts say CCS is an unproven technology with high risks and costs, and comes with long-term liabilities. They say relying on such technology will only delay real climate action in Japan and in Asia.

Leaks in CCS projects – which can cause asphyxiation in huge concentrations – have already occurred with dire consequences for surrounding communities.

A CO2 pipeline rupture in 2020 in Mississippi in the US resulted in the evacuation of over 200 people and the hospitalisation of at least 45 people with CO2 poisoning.

In early April, there was also a leak in a high-pressure CO2 pipeline owned by Denbury Inc and ExxonMobil in Sulfur, Louisiana.

Environmentalists say CCS projects not only exacerbate the climate crisis but are fundamentally against the principle of climate justice, particularly as they result in the dumping of CO2 in countries in the Global South like Malaysia.

Meenakshi Raman, president of Sahabat Alam Malaysia, says: “The climate crisis we are in now is the consequence of historically high carbon emissions of developed countries such as Japan. For the world to even have a remote chance of meeting the 1.5C target, developed countries must take the lead in rapidly phasing out fossil fuels.

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“This push for CCS by the Japanese government is just another smokescreen for them to continue fossil fuel exploitation. To make matters worse, instead of taking in the carbon produced by Japanese industries on Japanese soil, it seeks to dump the burden of storing carbon in a developing country such as Malaysia.

“We demand that the Japanese put a stop to this ugly manifestation of waste colonialism through the dumping of carbon in developing countries like Malaysia, and we call upon the government of Malaysia not to let the country be the carbon waste bin of the developed world.”

Fanny Tri Jambore, head of the campaign division of Walhi, Indonesia, adds: “Several CCS projects have been proposed for oil and gas fields in Indonesia, where residents have suffered major environmental, livelihood, and human rights repercussions.

“For example, indigenous people in Tangguh LNG project area in West Papua province were displaced from the customary land, and have been prevented from their free and traditional way of life due to limited access to hunting and fishing grounds.

“BP as the project operator in the Tangguh LNG project has been working on enhanced gas recovery/CCUS, hence, the Chubu Electric’s intention to export CO2 from Japan to Tangguh will extend the life of the fossil gas project and prolong such repercussions.

“Where is the justice for local communities in Indonesia, who have never been informed about such CCS plans? This is nothing but carbon colonialism.”

Ayumi Fukakusa, climate change and energy campaigner and deputy executive director of Friends of the Earth, Japan says: “The Japanese government’s CCS policy is totally unrealistic. Its current policy aims to store 120-240 million tons of CO₂ by 2050, which is equivalent to approximately 10-20% of Japan’s current emissions.

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“There is no commercially viable project that exists in Japan yet Japanese companies are making agreements to export CO2 to other countries.

“The Japanese government must set a stronger emission reduction target, based on the principles of equity and its historical responsibilities and must stop promoting these false solutions.”

Source: Sahabat Alam Malaysia

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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