ANZ & Westpac under pressure to quit coal as NAB rules out finance for Adani

Intro

The National Australia Bank (NAB) today became the 14th financial institution to rule out any investment in Adani’s beleaguered Carmichael coal mine. With the Commonwealth Bank, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, among others – and now NAB – refusing to finance destructive coal projects, the pressure is now on ANZ and Westpac to follow suit. In a further blow, Adani has also lost one of its two largest customers, with LG announcing that it would no longer be buying coal from the mining giant. Support for new coal is not only “morally reprehensible”, but in dire straits financially with mines increasingly scaling back operations, selling for a dollar, or closing altogether. While the markets catch up to the reality of the rapidly shifting energy landscape, State and Federal governments continue to live in the past, risking prime farmland, critical animal habitat, national income and the fate of entire nations on a sector that employs fewer people than McDonald’s or the horse industry.

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Key Points

  • No investor in their right mind could see coal as good bet anymore. NAB has joined the Commonwealth Bank and a host of international financial institutions in ruling out support for Adani’s vast Carmichael coal mine, while Newcastle and Gloucester councils have joined the growing divestment movement to move their money out of fossil fuels and into economically and ethically saner alternatives. Financial prudence is fast becoming the main factor for investor action. For example, activist Jonathan Moylan’s hoax email may have briefly caused losses for investors in Whitehaven’s Maules Creek mine (which was officially opened today), but the financial pain from the temporary dip in Whitehaven Coal’s (WHC) share price from $3.52 to $3.21 now looks insignificant given the company’s share price is currently $1.03. Jonathan Moylan saved investors from far larger losses.

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Key Quotes

  • “It takes a pretty toxic combination of financial unviability, public opposition and environmental and social risk to amass a list this big of unwilling funders. The news also shows just how out of touch Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on the issue of the Carmichael mega mine. After recently calling for businesses to support the project, NAB have taken exactly the opposite step.” – Market Forces’ Julian Vincent
  • “[A] clear majority of our people said no to the Carmichael mine. Twice. This decision is final. What part of our “democracy” do they not understand? We have had a gutful of Adani and its dirty tactics used against our people. Adani’s proposed Carmichael project would be an unmitigated disaster, for my people, my culture, and for the environment. When we say no, we mean no.” – Senior Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owner, Adrian Burragubbado
  • “Many of our world leaders claim to be people of faith yet their collective failure to act according to the expert advice on climate change is morally reprehensible. The present situation demands that they agree that when it comes to coal, we simply must stop digging.” – Environmental Adviser to the Council of Progressive Rabbis, Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black
  • “I’m really disappointed… We’ve had big gaps in the water studies and a ‘pick and flick’ approach to research assessing the possible impacts on koalas. My family has planted about 5000 koala friendly trees in the past decade or so, and while not all of them have survived the drought, we’re working hard to improve the local environment. We see ourselves as custodians of the land, trying to improve things for the generations to follow, and then along comes this massive coal mine which will destroy our trees, rich soils and precious water.” – Breeza Mixed cropper John Hamparsum
  • “[Labor] promised a new era of accountability and transparency in Queensland and that has to start now with the Acland coal project. There is a cloud hanging over this project and the community cannot have any confidence that it has been approved on its merits until a thorough inquiry has been completed. Basic accountability demands that election promises by the Queensland ALP are delivered before this controversial project is approved.” – Lock the Gate president Drew Hutton

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