Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games
The summer Olympic and Paralympic games will be held in Tokyo in 2020. The Tokyo Games have set climate change as one of five main sustainability themes:
- Climate Change,
- Resource Management,
- Natural Environment and Biodiversity,
- Human Rights, Labour and Fair Business Practices, and
- Involvement, Cooperation and Communications.
To tackle the climate change issue, the organizers of the Tokyo Games are aiming “Towards Zero Carbon” and to be powered by 100% renewable energy. If successful, Tokyo 2020 will be the first 100% renewables-powered Olympics.
This is an admirable goal, but will the Japanese Government and corporate sponsors of the games live up their goals?
Tokyo 2020 Sponsors
Amongst major Japanese financial institutions, Tokio Marine, Nippon Life, SMBC, and Mizuho are involving in the Tokyo Games as sponsors. All four companies are major backers of coal power, jeopardizing the sustainability goals of the Tokyo Games. Nippon Life, SMBC, and Mizuho have established coal policies in recent years, however, those policies have loopholes that still allow the companies to get involved in coal-related projects even though they have coal restrictions.
Will Japan Really Achieve Its Ambitious Goal?
The Japanese Government is one of the largest coal investors and still promotes building new coal-fired power plants at home and abroad. Even after signing on to the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, the government of Japan approved eight overseas coal-fired power projects with a total capacity of over 8GW. Domestically, 17 units of new coal-fired power plants are under construction, including one near the upcoming games.
With regard to the Tokyo Games’ ambitious climate goal, the world is now watching and hoping to see Japan’s climate leadership as the host country. 2020 is the year the Paris Agreement comes into effect – will the Tokyo 2020 games be the platform at which Japanese public and private financers show their climate leadership through ending their coal finance? Only time will tell, but, in the spirit of global cooperation, peace, and prosperity, we hope to see a pledge to stop supporting coal!