TOKYO -(ENEWSPF)–December 1, 2016. Today, 350.org Japan and Green Peace Japan held a “#NoDAPL Japan” photo action to highlight the massive financing that Japanese banks are pouring into the Dakota Access Pipeline project in the U.S., a project that has endangered water access rights among minority populations in the country. This action was conducted in solidarity with a number of actions planned around the world to express opposition to the pipeline project .
Peaceful demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline started this April when the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe expressed concerns that the proposed project poses threats to their sacred native lands and could contaminate the water supply on their reservation, which runs along the pipeline’s route. In the months since, over 300 indigenous peoples from all over North America have come together at Standing Rock to oppose the pipeline and protests have been held nation wide, including in Washington, D.C.
Research conducted by the U.S. NGO Food & Water Watch found that there are 38 financial institutions involved in the DAPL project. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and SMBC Nikko Securities Inc. are the Japanese financial institutions in the list. Furthermore, Japanese banks Mizuho Bank (appx USD 590 million) and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (appx USD 550 million) lead the list of top financiers as first and second among 38 financial institutions, respectively.
All Japanese banks involved in financing DAPL are signatories to the Equator Principles, a risk management framework adopted by financial institutions for determining, assessing, and managing environmental and social risk in project finance. Ignoring the threat posed to the health and livelihoods of the Sioux Tribe, in addition to the violent police activity that has been imposed upon the protestors, is clearly a violation of the Equator Principles. The DNB Bank of Norway has already divested from companies connected to DAPL, citing the egregious violations of human rights resulting from the project .
Given this grave situation, on November 30, 350.org Japan along with Green Peace Japan sent a letter to those Japanese financial institutions demanding that they stop all financing into the DAPL project and requesting a meeting to speak about how they are planning to incorporate climate-related risks into their investment policies . The Dutch NGO Bank Track has also distributed an opposition letter to the 38 financial institutions involved in DAPL today, co-signed by more than 420 international groups .
Projects such as DAPL also ignore warnings from the scientific community, who state that meeting the long-term goal as codified in the Paris Agreement of keeping global warming under 1.5-2 degrees Celsius can only be met by not developing any new fossil fuel projects. 350.org Japan and Green Peace Japan will continue to call upon the Japanese banks involved in this project to adopt investment policies in line with the Equator Principles and the Paris Agreement.
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.