Youth climate activists in Bangladesh called upon Japan to stop funding for all sorts of fossil fuel based projects, including the coal-fired Matarbari Power Plant in Bangladesh.
With a human chain in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on Friday morning – hours before the commencement of the four day G7 summit 2021 in the United Kingdom – environmentalists also called on Japan to compensate the local people of Matarbari for environmental pollution, to arrange proper rehabilitation of the affected, cancel the Matarbari coal-fired power plant project right away, and set up a solar or wind based power plant instead.
The G7 (Group of Seven) is made up of the world's seven advanced economies, including Japan.
Participants in Friday's human chain – jointly organised by the Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED) and YouthNet for Climate Justice – said global warming must be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 in order to sustain human existence.
To stop the rise in temperature, global greenhouse gas emissions, including in Bangladesh, should be brought down to zero by 2050. They said the biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions is the use of fossil fuels.
The use of fossil fuels needs to be controlled now following recommendations from the International Energy Agency (IEA) to ensure zero emissions within the stipulated time frame, they added.
Addressing the programme, Ruhul Amis Rabbi, Dhaka district coordinator of YouthNet for Climate Justice, said the world's seven richest countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan – at a global summit on 21 May this year, decided not to invest in the coal sector.
In defiance of this joint decision, Japan has kept investing in coal based power generation in Bangladesh, he added.
"According to the 1992 Climate Convention, Japan is in principle obliged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not only in its own country, but also in other developing countries. But, the Japanese government and government agency JICA are putting us in danger by investing in the coal power sector."
He said the Matarbari coal-fired power plant would destroy the environment in Bangladesh and emit greenhouse gases into the air.
"Crops will be ruined, human health will be affected, and Bangladesh will fall into a long-term debt trap."
Ruhul Amis Rabbi also demanded the immediate suspension in construction of the 1200 megawatt Matarbari coal-fired power plant, and in its place, the construction of a power plant based on low polluting fuels like liquid hydrogen using the infrastructure built thus far.