The G7 summit is approaching, and Razom We Stand, a Ukrainian NGO, has sent letters urging the G7 nations to take the lead in transitioning the world towards clean energy and away from fossil fuels. We demand that the G7 takes action on climate change and addresses the ongoing war in Ukraine, where the Russian military, funded by fossil fuel export revenues from G7 and other nations, are inflicting war crimes on innocent people.
The ongoing war in Ukraine, which started with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, has resulted in countless atrocities and war crimes committed by the Russian military, with the funds for this war coming especially from fossil fuel export revenues. It is time for the G7 to take responsibility for its role in funding this conflict and to act swiftly to put an end to it.
Our letter highlights the dire consequences of Russia's war on Ukraine and the role that G7 nations have played in funding it through their import of Russian fossil fuels. We urge G7 nations to impose a total and permanent embargo on Russian fossil fuels, including liquefied natural gas, and to consider imposing sanctions on Chinese companies cooperating with Russia in oil and gas joint ventures, including Arctic LNG-2. The key demands sent to governments include ending subsidies for fossil fuels, transitioning to clean energy, and investing in clean energy technologies, in particular in Ukraine in the context of post-war recovery based on clean energy. We also called on nations to use their power at the G7 Summit to address the climate crisis and peace issues and to stop the expansion of their and Russian fossil gas infrastructure and their companies from operating in Russia.
Prime Minister of Japan
Cabinet Public Affairs Office, Cabinet Secretariat
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100 - 8968, Japan
May 10, 2023
Dear Prime Minister Kishida,
My name is Svitlana Romanko, and I am a Ukrainian environmental lawyer, Founder and Director of Razom We Stand (RazomWeStand.org), a civil society group focusing on efforts to impose a total and permanent embargo of russian fossil fuels, and promoting a green and sustainable rebuilding of Ukraine.
We are grateful to Japan for investing $471 million in Ukraine Relief, Recovery, Reconstruction and Reform Trust Fund (URTF) that will support restoration and repair of critical infrastructure in Ukraine. We, however, regretfully view continued participation of Japanese companies in joint ventures with russia, particularly in Arctic LNG-2 and Sakhalin-2 LNG projects, as a negative factor that compromises Japan's commitments to protect peace and climate.
In recent years, Japan has increased its imports of russian liquified natural gas (LNG), with 9.5 percent of its total LNG imports coming from russia in 2022, up from 8.8 percent in 2021, most of it from the Sakhalin-2 project. Japan has even reportedly resumed imports of russian oil from the same project after a nine-month hiatus. The Sakhalin-2 project is partly owned by russia's Gazprom and Japanese companies, including Mitsui, which has retained its stake in the project despite russia's war on Ukraine. Other Japanese companies, such as Mizuho, are still operating in russia.
To put an end to the atrocities committed by russia in Ukraine, it is high time for Japan to stop supporting Putin's war machine. This can be achieved by cutting imports of all russian fossil fuels, including LNG. The G7 nations, including Japan, must no longer rely on outdated and expensive gas and coal power generation, which depends heavily on coal and LNG supplies from russia. Instead, we urge Japan to invest in cheaper and cleaner renewable energy sources to become a leader in the transition towards clean energy.
We also urge Japan along with other G7 nations to consider imposing sanctions on Chinese companies cooperating with russia in oil and gas joint ventures, including Arctic LNG-2. In particular, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) are project partners in joint venture with russian company Novatek, holding 10% share each in the Arctic LNG-2 project.
Sanctioning these companies could halt the construction of this major fossil fuel infrastructure project, which is defined by members Verkhovna Rada as another geopolitical tool for russia and a dire threat to global climate and peace and security in the Arctic.
As noted by Member of Ukrainian Parliament Andrii Zhupanyn, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Natural Gas Policy, “placing russia’s gas infrastructure expansion on ice is essential for defuelling russia’s military, ending the war in Ukraine, and protecting the climate and Arctic ecosystems”.
So far the G7 nations were hindering their own energy security and independence by allowing their companies to participate in oil and gas joint ventures with russia and providing inefficient and harmful public subsidies that incentivized higher demand for fossil fuels. It is time for the G7 nations to end these subsidies and swiftly transition to clean energy, given that renewables have already become the cheapest energy source according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2022. Despite this, global fossil fuel consumption subsidies doubled in 2022, reaching an irrational amount of $1 trillion.
Dire warnings are now expressed in figures: the lack of action on climate change could cost the global economy $178 trillion over the next 50 years, as reported by the Wall St. Journal.
Therefore, it is shocking that after a year of war in Ukraine, governments and the G7 continue to rely on imports of russian fossil fuels. We must end this addiction to solve both the climate problem and to dry up the funds for the brutal russian war against the Ukrainian people.
We implore the Japanese Government and G7 to invest in clean energy technologies to protect the economy and the planet and take immediate action to end reliance on russian fossil fuels, enforce primary sanctions and introduce secondary sanctions against Chinese companies involved in joint ventures with russia. G7 cannot afford to continue supporting putin's war machine and harming the environment.
Japan has the opportunity to make a significant impact on Ukraine's economic recovery by providing substantial investments and transferring technology to support the development of a sustainable energy ecosystem. This could bolster Ukraine's potential as a reliable partner for Japan in various areas, particularly in the renewable energy sector.
Having this in mind, in the light of the coming G7 Summit, we call on Japanese Government to uphold the commitments to climate action and peace by addressing these outstanding issues:
- The climate crisis, and the world, need Japan to use its power at G7 this year to be a climate leader, and not backslide on its stated climate goals and climate finance commitments and stop expansion of fossil gas infrastructure, especially russian LNG.
- We demand that Japan immediately ceases its participation in joint ventures with russia, particularly in Arctic LNG-2 and Sakhalin-2 LNG projects, as it compromises Japan's commitments to protect peace and climate. This includes the immediate cessation of imports of all russian fossil fuels, including LNG and oil, and the termination of all business operations in russia by Japanese companies.
- Protection of peace and climate requires international action to stop russia's Arctic LNG-2 project, including sanctions against Chinese companies participating in the project.
- As a member of the G7 nations, we urge Japan to lead the transition towards clean energy by investing in cheaper and cleaner renewable energy sources and upholding the commitments taken under Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, that was issued at COP26, and shifting public finance away from gas and coal to clean energy.
- We kindly ask Japan to provide investment in renewable energy infrastructure for the restoration of Ukraine's energy sector following the principles of decentralization and transition to renewable energy sources, avoiding investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure and stopping the expansion of climate disrupting gas projects;
- We also critically need equipment for distributed energy resources as emergency aid for Ukraine, as called for by Ukrainian municipalities and civil society. This will help to establish reliable electricity supply for critical infrastructure facilities in 2023, promote sustainable and climate-neutral technologies, and facilitate broader participation in energy transition among municipalities, communities, businesses, and citizens.
There is an urgent need for the G7 to lead the transition away from our current path toward a climate catastrophe fueled by fossil fuels. We insist that Japan should take a strong, proactive stance in guiding the world towards a clean energy future that eliminates wars and conflicts caused by fossil fuels, benefits both the planet and its people, and supports long-term economic development and energy security.
Myself and our team at Razom We Stand are ready to communicate, support and mainstream related policies and facilitate interaction of all actors from Japan working on solutions for energy independence of Ukraine, transitioning to clean energy and countering russia's energy terror by imposing full energy sanctions against the aggressor. We look forward to hearing back from you about how we can cooperate with the Government of Japan and relevant institutions to make this happen.
Dr. Svitlana Romanko
Founder and Director
Razom We Stand
70 Sichovykh Striltsiv