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URGENT: Fossil Fuel Divestment

Dear Mr Clyne, Ms Kelly, Mr Narev and Mr Smith,

We write to urge you to adopt a critical change to your banks’ investment policies.

Australia stands on the verge of a fossil fuel expansion that would jeopardise the possibility of containing global warming to below 2˚C above pre-industrial levels – a key marker for the prospects of a safe climate for future generations to enjoy.

As Australia’s four largest banks and heaviest lenders to coal and gas projects, you have a vital role in determining the fate of proposed new fossil fuel projects. You will be met with requests to provide finance and other forms of investment for these projects. For the sake of a safe climate, these requests must be denied.

Specifically we are asking you to demonstrate courage and leadership by adopting the following two policy changes:

  • 1.

    Place an immediate prohibition on loans to new fossil fuel extraction projects and the infrastructure required to enable them, and

  • 2.

    Sell down all stakes held either directly or through third parties in companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction.

Read more

There is very little time remaining to avoid catastrophic climate change. The International Energy Agency’s Chief Economist, Fatih Birol, said in late 2011 that the world had only five years in which to move off a fossil fuel pathway. Many of the projects that will be seeking your investment would operate for decades, making them entirely incompatible with any serious effort to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Others are warning of the economic risks of continued investment in fossil fuels. If the world is to avoid 2˚C of global warming it will mean leaving the vast bulk of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. Failing to acknowledge this now could be a multi-trillion dollar mistake for the fossil fuel industry and institutions that finance them.

We urge you to adopt these changes to your investment policies for the sake of the environment and economic responsibility.


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