ANZ’s new targets for oil and gas, aluminium, cement and steel are a small step forward, but the target timelines are too long and are undermined by the bank’s intention to keep lending to companies like Woodside and Santos, which are fuelling the climate crisis with major fossil gas expansions, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.

The bank’s new ‘approach to climate change’ comes just weeks after a UN High-Level Expert Group on Net Zero Commitments by Non-State Actors said oil and gas policies from financial institutions making net zero commitments must stop supporting new oil and gas exploration or the expansion of existing reserves.

ANZ’s target would reduce financed emissions for oil and gas by 26% by 2030, but the policy does not rule out providing finance to companies that are expanding oil and gas projects.

“Devastating recent floods and bushfires are a stark reminder that climate change is already impacting Australians and our economy and as the world’s leading scientists continue to remind us there is no room to support major expansions in coal, oil or gas if the world is to limit warming close to 1.5 degrees,” said ACF’s corporate campaigner Jonathan Moylan.

“Leading banks like La Banque Postale and Commerzbank have adopted policies that make sure they do not support companies pursuing oil and gas expansions, which is the basic litmus test for any bank that wants its net zero commitment to be seen as credible.”

In July, ANZ joined a syndicate of banks to lend $1.2 billion to Woodside.

“Woodside’s Scarborough gas expansion and associated Pluto LNG terminal is expected to emit 1.37 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions through to 2055, equivalent to ten times the emissions of Western Australia’s most polluting coal power station over 25 years.

“It’s time for ANZ – and all Australian banks – to stop financing oil and gas projects and align their lending to a credible pathway to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.”

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