Campaign Recap: Australia’s Greatest Liability

For Evergreen 2022

by Jackson Reid

9 November 2022

This year we've been taking on Australian energy giant, AGL. Read on to hear about Greenpeace's role in pressuring AGL to close their dirty, coal-fired power stations.

Our AGL or “Australia’s Greatest Liability” campaign has been a big priority here at Greenpeace this year. Let’s take a look at all the victories and effort from this campaign that have been made possible by the goodwill of our supporters.

Thanks to the combined efforts of communities, shareholders, and activists, we have seen AGL’s demerger plans foiled and pressured the company to bring forward the closure of their heavily-polluting coal-burning power stations.

Last year we published our “Coal-Faced” report that exposed AGL’s poor climate practices. Since 2015, AGL has breached their environmental licence 111 times and their production of renewable energy actually went down over the past decade! In this report we stated that AGL was Australia’s biggest climate polluter, and AGL then tried to sue Greenpeace for defamation. This was a desperate attempt to silence climate activists, with AGL losing the court battle and Greenpeace claiming victory.

This year we campaigned to challenge AGL’s use of greenwashing tactics, and alerted AGL’s sponsorship partners to these dirty marketing tricks.

We put on bold protests outside AGL HQ to bring media attention to the issue, pressured Australia’s big banks to stop funding AGL’s projects, and engaged with some of AGL’s investors to vote against the demerger. In 2021, we also supported youth activist, Ash Sharif, in running for the AGL Board with a complimentary social media campaign.

In late September this year, AGL announced that they would be bringing forward the closure of the Loy Yang A power station in Victoria from 2048 to 2035! And there are prospects that their Bayswater power station in NSW will transition to renewable energy by 2029.

Wow. That’s a lot to take in, isn’t it?

While AGL has made good progress in response to our actions and demands, there is still work to be done! Greenpeace demands them to bring forward the closure of the Loy Yang A and Bayswater power stations by 2030, in line with the recommendations from climate scientists. AGL now has the opportunity to become a climate leader in Australia, and thanks to the efforts of Greenpeace and our supporters this is now a possibility.

Victorian School Striker protests against AGL Energy’s burning of coal at their coal-fired power station, Loy Yang A, in the La Trobe Valley.

To memorialise this victory, Greenpeace produced a documentary that chronicled the story of how a diverse group of people and organisations banded together against AGL and its leadership team to change the company for the better. The half-hour documentary is available to watch on YouTube, and you can also find it on our website here.

AGL making the switch to renewables and leaving coal in the past is crucial for Australia to avoid further, life-threatening consequences of climate change. Greenpeace will continue to make a stand against AGL and other climate polluters. And we wouldn’t be able to do this, if it were not for you, our Green Guardians.

Your continued support is truly the backbone of our campaigns. Your gifts will go on to make a cleaner world for the next generation, and help keep companies like AGL accountable to the environment.

Jackson Reid

By Jackson Reid

Jackson is the Gift in Wills Administrator, who first joined Greenpeace as a volunteer.