Commonwealth Bank Rules Out Funding to Wreck the Reef

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We have seen some great progress in the campaign to stop Australian banks funding Indian company Adani’s development of a huge coal mine that would damage the Great Barrier Reef. 

 

In early August, Adani lost the court case seeking environmental approval for the project. This was followed by the Commonwealth Bank stopping its involvement in the project as a financial adviser. Adani then cancelled its financial advice contract with the UK Standard Chartered bank, casting further doubt on the viability of the project. The Age (1/8) reported that Adani had sacked more than 100 workers (reducing the workforce to around 20) and suspended contracts with engineering firms working on the project. This all points towards the project not proceeding.

 

India plans to phase out coal imports by 2021 and double its domestic coal production. It also plans to install 175 GW of renewable energy as well as upgrading its electricity grid, all of which will remove the need for coal imports. This makes the Adani coal mine in Queensland even less viable.

 

Eas Sarma, the former Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Power has publicly refuted claims by Prime Minister Tony Abbott that coal exports from the Adani mine in Queensland would benefit Indians currently without electricity. He said increases in electricity production from coal fired power-stations will simply feed  increased consumption by wealthy Indians. Most Indians who lack access to electricity live in rural villages where it is very expensive to connect to a central electricity grid. He says, “Australian coal, like any other coal, is not good for Indian people’s health and it will not deliver electricity to those who are currently living in energy poverty. It’s time for the Australian government and coal industry to realise that the era of Australian coal exports is coming to an end. What Indians need is affordable, locally-generated renewable energy, not coal”.

 

Thanks to everyone who wrote to the Australian banks asking that they not fund the Adani coal mine and congratulations to Lyn Mulligan, from the Ocean Grove Uniting Church, who had her letter against the coal mine published in The Age on 12 July.

 

The next step in this campaign is to keep the pressure up so that Prime Minister Abbott does not carry through his threat to change environmental protection laws. This would mean coal projects like the Adani mine could not be held up in court because of concerns about the environmental damage they will cause.