Do you care about the climate? Because Pikachu does! Well, the climate activists in giant inflatable Pikachu costumes do. They double-teamed the Japanese embassy in the Philippines' capital on Tuesday, ahead of the annual G20 meeting Japan is preparing to host on Friday. It all coincides with the recent release of a sobering report into the continued support of the coal industry by G20 governments, despite the urgent need to cut carbon emissions.
The figures, published this month in a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), show at least $64 billion per year in government support goes into the coal industry, which is a sizable increase over recent years. Asian governments dominate subsidies given to the production and consumption of fossil fuels, with China, India and Japan giving the most, though Japan isn't quite at the same level as the former two. It provided a yearly average of $5.2 billion in 2016 and 2017, while China contributed $19 billion and India $17.9 billion. The US, meanwhile, gave $2 billion.
"To avoid dangerous climate change and make good on their commitments to end fossil fuel subsidies, the G20 must commit to rapidly ending their support for coal," the ODI report reads.
"They must also increase transparency by committing to conduct peer reviews of coal and other fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 and establish a regular process of tracking progress in ending subsidies and sharing the lessons learnt."
The numbers are disturbing to say the least after the representatives of major economies pledged to phase out fossil fuel subsidies a decade ago in efforts to combat global warming.
The Pikachus in Manila are a local network of volunteers, known as 350.org Pilipinas, who're supporting a grassroots climate movement in the country, according to Philstar. Donning costumes is one way to funnel the world's attention into the climate crisis.