Newcastle community activist John Hayes was among a group of environmental protesters responsible for dumping 100 bags of coal outside the central Sydney offices of the Commonwealth Bank today.
Dressed in hazmat suits displaying the slogan #Coalbank, Greenpeace activists pushed a mock coal train through the city, stopping outside the bank’s Harbour Street office and unloading the coal to highlight the bank’s continued investment in the coal industry.
Mr Hayes lives within 200 metres of the world’s largest coal port in Carrington.
“The Commonwealth Bank is damaging the air quality of my community which is putting the health of my seven grandchildren at risk,” Mr Hayes said.
“I have come to Sydney today to attempt to deliver a bag of coal back to CommBank’s chief executive, Ian Narev.”
Greenpeace said an analysis by environmental finance group Market Forces showed the Commonwealth Bank had loaned $6 billion to fossil fuel companies in the past 18 months.
“The Commonwealth Bank’s climate policy promises to support a transition to net zero emissions by 2050 but their actions make a mockery of that promise,” Greenpeace campaigner Jonathan Moylan said.
“By failing to exclude highly polluting fossil fuel projects like coalmines, CommBank are funding projects that destroy our environment, take a catastrophic toll on the health of communities, and accelerate climate change.”
A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson said the institution supports nearly every sector of the economy.
“Our Climate Policy Position Statement includes a target to achieve an average emissions intensity decrease of our business lending portfolio consistent with our commitment to support a responsible global transition to a net zero emissions economy by 2050,” the spokesperson said.
“We are already active in supporting the new technologies that will contribute to a sustainable future.”
The spokesperson said the bank’s lending to renewable energy projects was $2.8 billion at June 30, an increase of 170 per cent than in 2012.
“Our direct lending to coalmining has fallen by 79 per cent over the same period,” the spokesperson said.
The bank said it was “undertaking a climate scenario analysis to inform and guide our longer term strategy”. This was due for completion by the end of 2018.
Source: The Herald