Financial activists Market Forces have revealed that the big four banks in Australia are still offering funds to fossil fuel projects despite targeting better global warming goals.
The Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ, and Westpac have offered a loan worth $5.5 billion to coal, gas and natural gas projects in 2015. The amount offered has been recorded as higher than three out of eight years preceding the mission. There were eight loans offered to fossil fuel projects in Australia worth $4 billion in 2015. The deal included Whitehaven Coal that operated the controversial Maules Creek mine. All of the projects have gathered funds from the four big Aussie banks that totalled to $995 million. Market Forces’ Julien Vincent claimed that the contribution is more than usual from the four banks.
Meanwhile, the Australian government announced the investment of $15.4 million to finance fossil fuel research centre for four years. Echo.net.au reported the declaration by the federal government has faced criticism from the North Coast Greens. Greens’ Richmond candidate Dawn Walker mentioned the coalition as “climate vandals” because of the announcement made by the federal industry minister Christopher Pyne this week where he said that the body set up to promote SNG sector would be called National Energy Resources Australia (NERA). The body will be assigned the task to “promote collaboration and innovation across the energy resources sector.”
“The Growth Centre will work closely with researchers from universities, CSIRO and Cooperative Research Centres to build links with business and industry organisations,” Pyne said as quoted by The Guardian. “Importantly it will also promote industry-led research in priority areas by facilitating deeper engagement between industry and researchers.”
All the four big banks have released statements where they favoured the 2C global warming target and have indicated their wish to shift away from the CNG project funding liability. The total $5.5 billion finance available from the big four banks would be utilised for 21 fossil fuel projects with $330 million reserved for the struggling Whitehaven Coal, whose loan was refinanced by ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank, and Westpac.