Out of touch, Resources Minister Keith Pitt lashes banks turning away from coal for clean energy

SYDNEY, May 6 2020 - Federal Resource Minister Keith Pitt’s rebuke of banks for ending their coal investments is out of touch with business, energy experts and the world-renowned economists who have urged Australian governments to plan for a renewables-led recovery. 

Mr Pitt’s remarks come a day after Westpac announced it would end new loans to thermal coal businesses in 2030, joining the growing list of 45 banks to reduce their exposure to the world’s most climate-exposed fuel. [1]

“Australia’s biggest banks are turning their backs on coal and it’s not surprising, with some of our biggest customers like China and India signalling an end to coal imports and the International Energy Agency chair signalling the need for a renewable recovery,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesperson Jonathan Moylan said.

“Instead of taking the advice of experts urging a clean energy-led recovery, Minister Pitt is risking Australia’s economic future by betting on last century’s dirty and outdated fuel.”

“Renewable energy is one of the only sectors to have withstood the shock of the coronavirus crisis and is now not only zero-emissions, but also the cheapest source of energy available.”

The Clean Energy Council forecasts that fast-tracking the current pipeline of wind and solar projects will create more than 50,000 jobs and inject $50 billion worth of investment into the economy. [2]

“Instead of attacking banks for making sustainable investment decisions, Keith Pitt needs to help set us up for a lasting and sustainable recovery backed by the reality of the world’s energy future,” Mr Moylan said.

The head of the International Energy Agency, Fatih Birol, has also urged governments to seize the “historic opportunity for the world to create packages to recover the economy, reduce dirty investments and accelerate the energy transition.” [3]

The sentiment was echoed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stieglitz and Sir Nicholas Stern, who have demonstrated that renewable energy projects deliver twice as many jobs dollar-for-dollar compared with fossil fuels.

And yesterday, the Australian Industry Group said governments should avoid “emissions-intensive projects” and advised accelerating the shift to clean energy to deliver employment, economic growth, and improve energy security. [4]

 

Notes

[1]

https://www.banktrack.org/campaign/bank_moves_out_of_coal

[2]

https://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/news/a-clean-recovery-to-jumpstart-economy-and-create-50-000-new-jobs

[3] https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/03/17/governments-historic-opportunity-accelerate-clean-energy-transition-iea-says/

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/05/australian-businesses-call-for-climate-crisis-and-virus-economic-recovery-to-be-tackled-together

 

Contact

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]