FILIPINO environmental groups have protested the Japanese government and corporations to stop the alleged promotion of technologies that are “false solutions” to the global climate crisis.

“Investments in false solutions is not the fix that we need to enable the clean energy transition. We need to increase capital spending on clean energy instead,” said lawyer Aaron Pedrosa, secretary general of Sanlakas and co-chairperson of the Energy Working Group of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).

The protest came as Japan, one of the world’s top importers of fossil fuels, opened its three-day Energy Summit in Tokyo on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

The Summit will address the important topics around Japan’s journey to a carbon-neutral society, the role hydrogen will play in Japan's future, and how nations can achieve net-zero by 2050, according to Japan Energy Summit.

Pedrosa maintained that “the promotion of these false solutions is a dangerous distraction that would only delay decarbonization and maintain the reliance on fossil fuels.”

“This summit showcases Japan’s interest in false solutions, such as carbon capture, ammonia co-firing or hydrogen plants, and how to keep LNG (liquefied natural gas) attractive for investors in spite of its dirty reputation,” added Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

“We are registering our fierce opposition to the agenda being promoted by this Summit. We call on the Summit participants to stop supporting fossil fuels and instead contribute to the rapid, equitable and just transition to renewable and democratic energy systems in Asia,” she said.

In a statement, Nacpil said the “main cause of the climate crisis is the burning of fossil fuels.”

“We need to speed up the direct, just and equitable transition to clean, renewable energy technologies, not extend the life of the fossil fuel industry with hydrogen fuels, carbon capture and fossil gas. These technologies lead to the production of more fossil fuels,” said the climate activist leader.

According to the groups, ammonia and hydrogen “are being promoted as promising alternative fuels for decarbonizing electricity production.”

“Fossil gas, commonly referred to as natural gas and LNG in its liquid form, is a fossil fuel touted to be cleaner than coal. The most common form of producing hydrogen involves using a process called steam reforming which uses LNG as a fuel source and still emits greenhouse gasses,” they added.

However, the environmental groups explained that using ammonia and hydrogen-based fuels for power generation “are unproven alternatives and therefore unreliable, while new gas infrastructure, which can last up to 30 years, risks locking countries into prolonged greenhouse gas emissions.”

Citing a study, the green groups said that “fossil gas production emits methane, which has a warming effect up to 80 or 90 times more powerful than C02 over a 20-year timescale.”

“Fossil gas investments continue to rise in Asia despite the warning of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that the world is set to breach the 1.5C warming limit within the next two decades without immediate and deep emissions reductions,” the groups said.

“There are plans to increase the region’s gas power capacity two-fold and triple its pipeline capacity for LNG import,” they added.

The investment in fossil gas reportedly continues to rise in Asia, with plans to double and triple the increase in the region’s gas power capacity and pipeline capacity for LNG imports, respectively.

“Climate scientists warn that emissions from the fossil gas industry are now growing so rapidly and are responsible for much more methane in the atmosphere than previously known,” the green groups said. (SunStar Philippines)