Going “green” means different things to governments and businesses around the world. The latest policy developments in Japan confirm that it and its Southeast Asian allies’ vision of energy transition pathways diverge markedly from those animating Brussels, London and Washington.
Japan set the scene with a new international platform. At the end of April, Tokyo hosted the first Asia Green Growth Partnership Ministerial Meeting (AGGPM) Public-Private Forum. The event included speeches by energy-related officials from the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as Japan. It also featured announcements of ambitious business partnerships between Japanese and ASEAN companies in the fields of carbon capture and storage, ammonia, hydrogen and renewable energy.
But possibly the most impactful aspect of the Forum was the launch of the Asian Transition Finance Study Group’s (ATFSG) mid-term report on transition pathways. This grouping of Asian and global commercial banks is much more than another industry initiative. Led by Japan’s biggest financial player, MUFG, the Group is strongly backed by Japanese government agencies and has direct input from key stakeholders in the ASEAN. That includes the ASEAN Taxonomy Board and the Sustainable Finance Institute Asia.
The Group’s report, which is due to be followed by a final version in October, is essentially an outline of decarbonization strategies for Asia. Japan and its ASEAN partners make it clear they seek pragmatic and appropriate solutions for their region while also respecting global climate goals reflected in the Paris Agreement.