Business

Bank accounts closed over funds loaned to gas, coal projects

Gladstone Conservation Council's Jan Arens wants banks to take his money out of WICET.
Gladstone Conservation Council's Jan Arens wants banks to take his money out of WICET. Mike Richards

HUNDREDS of customers of the 'big four' banks have closed their accounts to protest their banks' lending to Australian coal and gas projects.

Gladstone's Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) is one project on the hitlist.

A national day of protest last Saturday targeted the ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac, who have loaned funds to enable expansion of the coal and gas industry in Australia, according to environment groups 350 and Market Forces.

"The big four banks since 2008 have loaned around $19 billion to new coal and gas in Australia alone," said 350's Charlie Wood.

"A lot of the people participating in divestment day were motivated by concerns about the climate impacts of these projects," she said.

WICET was loaned $195 million by NAB, $194 million by ANZ and $294 million by the Commonwealth Bank according to Market Forces' Julien Vincent.

"The money used to fund major projects is ultimately that of the banks' customers, clients and shareholders," he said.

Bank customers are increasingly demanding their banks withdraw funds from coal and gas projects, he said.

Coal comprises over 70 per cent of the cargo exported from Gladstone Port, about 59 million tonnes annually.

Coal exported from Gladstone would more than double with the completion of WICET, which is likely to see an additional 80 million tonnes exported every year.

Local environmentalist Jan Arens said the resulting increase greenhouse gas emissions would cause an acceleration of climate change that was not acceptable.

"Climate change is upon us and is likely to get very much worse," he said.

"We need to interact with the banking community about this.

"If the atmospheric temperature goes up by four degrees then we (will) have dire consequences," he said.

He said the task of protecting the climate was a simple exercise in arithmetic.

"We need to leave 70 to 80 per cent of the identified carbon in the ground. We can't burn it."

Mr Arens is inspired after seeing customers around Australia cut their bank cards and close their accounts in protest against the WICET and other coal and gas projects.

We need to shift away from a carbon economy. It has to happen. We have no choice.

The process engineer has lived in Gladstone for 15 years where he works with heavy industry and volunteers for the Gladstone Conservation Council.

He has bank accounts with ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank.

"The transparency of how money is spent is not there," he said.

"We need banks to be more transparent."

He hopes the banks will withdraw their support for WICET.

"Of course I feel sorry for a guy who might lose money from a contract on WICET, everybody would," he said.

"But the reality is we need to find alternatives.

"We need to shift away from a carbon economy. It has to happen. We have no choice."

He said Gladstone needs to think about creating an environmentally sustainable economy.

"Rather than us talking about doubling coal exports, let's look at what we have and look at ways to move things so we don't need to sell coal," he said.

WICET, Commonwealth Bank and NAB have so far declined to comment.

THE MATHS

  • 2 degrees: the global temperature for a safe climate
  • 565 gigatonnes: the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted globally to keep the temperature at 2 degrees
  • 2860 gigatonnes: the amount of carbon known of / available for exploitation

Source: http://www.350.org.au

Topics:  big four banks, climate change, coal, gladstone conservation council, wicet



Fisherman has "better solution" than $300,000 erosion fix

Tannum Sands man Chris Faux is happy he is getting his Wild Cattle Creek beach back but would like the sand to be dredged from Boyne River.

Tannum Sands residents will finally get their beach back

Gladstone coaches, teams, helped Welch make it to Storm

John, Brendan, Christian and Terry Welch after Melbourne Storm won last week.

Welch credits his Gladstone coaches, teams for his success.

Snake catchers offer free info session after near-fatal taipan bite

HOOKED: Lachlan Gilding and Max Jackson will promote snake safety to Agnes Water next week.

A free snake awareness session at Agnes Water this Monday.

Local Partners

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E6: Suckas Need Bodyguards review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E5: Just To Get A Rep review

Mahershala Ali, centre, in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E4: Step In The Arena review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Rob Kardashian admits his first crush was his sister Kim

Rob Kardashian once had a crush on his sister Kim Kardashian West.

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

'Flex muscles': Gladstone suburb drops $120K

BUYERS are scooping unprecedented deals by “flexing their muscles at the table”

Few bright lights for property after mining downturn

The Gladstone Regional Council wants associated LNG companies like Bechtel to be apart of the EIS housing accommodation strategy from the outset of the projects and not mid-way through.

Tannum Sands continues to write its own property success story

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'