Policy shonk: Australian banks ranked on exposure to climate risk

Greenpeace

Sydney, 9 December 2021: Australia’s Big 4 banks are significantly exposed to climate risk, with weak climate lending policies and loopholes for fossil fuel lending that are at odds with their commitment to the Paris Agreement, according to new analysis from Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Greenpeace’s analysis, released ahead of the NAB, Westpac and ANZ AGMs next week, aims to uncover which Australian bank is lending $800 million to fund Accel, the company that will house energy giant AGL’s coal-burning assets after its proposed demerger. Accel, if the proposed demerger goes ahead, is set to be Australia’s most climate polluting company.

The analysis also ranks the climate policies of Australian banks, finding that the Big 4 banks have inadequate policies in place, with significant loopholes and no reference to lending policies for fossil fuels beyond 2030. Enabled emissions from the Big 4 from 2016-2020 amount to 16.3 billion tonnes, 33 times Australia’s annual domestic emissions.

Glenn Walker, senior coal campaigner for Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said that it’s time for Australia’s biggest banks to clean up their acts.

“Australia’s major banks all claim to support the Paris Agreement and global progress to net-zero by 2050, but Greenpeace’s analysis reveals that they’re hedging their bets, with shonky policies ridden with loopholes to enable lending to fossil fuel projects like AGL’s coal-burning arm Accel,” he said.“Despite the IEA and UN warning that Australia’s coal-burning stations must close by 2030, AGL and Accel currently plan to continue burning coal up until 2048, well beyond the timeframe for a safe climate. As current lenders to AGL, at least one of the banks has likely agreed to stump up $800 million to fund this coal-burning behemoth, but so far no one’s owning up to it. So which bank is funding climate destruction?”

“Greenpeace is turning its sights on the banks and investors that are funding AGL, Australia’s biggest climate polluter. If any of the big four banks retain their outdated climate policies and proceed with funding Accel Energy, they will be exposed not only to significant financial risk, but a huge amount of pressure.”

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