ANZ’s new climate policy sees the bank take some positive steps away from financing thermal coal, but its withdrawal timeline is too slow and it continues to back climate-heating gas projects, the Australian Conservation Foundation said. 

ANZ’s new climate policy sees the bank take some positive steps away from financing thermal coal, but its withdrawal timeline is too slow and it continues to back climate-heating gas projects, the Australian Conservation Foundation said. 

ANZ’s new climate change statement, released today, acknowledges the importance of Australia transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050, but it does not align the bank’s investments to the Paris Agreement and a net zero target. 

“The crippling drought and bushfires Australians endured over the last 12 months are a stark reminder that global heating is hitting our nation and economy hard and the clock is ticking on climate action,” said ACF’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy. 

“The world’s top scientists are absolutely clear that rapid, far reaching changes are needed to halt global heating at 1.5 degrees. There is no room to continue burning coal, oil and gas in 2030.

“Financing coal, gas and oil is fuelling climate disasters; Australia’s banks are responsible and must be accountable.

“We welcome ANZ’s commitment to stop direct lending to coal-fired power stations and thermal coal mines by 2030 and to not directly finance new or expansionary thermal coal projects. 

“The same rules should apply to all coal, oil and gas projects and companies.

“Yet ANZ remains firmly invested in companies that it acknowledges have material exposures to thermal coal. 

“The bank will continue to financially support companies with more than 50% thermal coal exposure, despite acknowledging that companies that make more than 10% of their revenue from thermal coal are materially exposed. 

“While ANZ will encourage those customers to diversify and broaden their assets, it has refused to set a firm exit date for its investments in thermal coal companies. 

“ANZ has not explained how these policies will affect its financed emissions and their climate impact.

“We welcome ANZ’s continued goal to invest $50 billion in sustainable solutions, including renewable energy and battery storage, green buildings, reforestation and low emissions transport.

“We acknowledge the bank’s commitment to source 100% of its own electricity needs from renewables by 2025, but ANZ’s real climate impact is in the power of its lending. 

“ANZ is the biggest lender to the gas and oil industry with an $8.2 billion exposure to oil and gas as of September this year. 

“We urge ANZ to strengthen the commitments in its new policy by ruling out all thermal coal, gas and oil investments by 2030, not investing in new or expansionary oil and gas projects, and divesting from these fuels in line with the Paris climate agreement.

“The most successful and secure banks will be those that invest in clean energy, industries, transport and technologies, not the polluting fuels of the past.” 

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