April 13, 2016

350.org says the end of coal is here to stay as world’s largest private coal company Peabody files for bankruptcy

SYDNEY, 13th APRIL: The collapse of one of the world’s largest coal companies, Peabody Energy, shows in no uncertain terms that the end of coal is here to stay according to 350.org Australia’s CEO Blair Palese.

Coal has been in structural decline post 2013 and today’s announcement highlights the need to create a comprehensive plan for communities to transition away from coal.

Peabody has nine mines in Australia (three in NSW and six in QLD) and employs approximately 4000 people. It fuels approximately 10% of the US’ electricity and has liabilities exceeding $10 billion USD.

“The coal industry and governments have been trying to suggest this is just a cyclical downturn, but it’s not,” the CEO of 350.org Australia, Blair Palese said. “Coal is in structural decline and we urgently need a just transition away from fossil fuels to protect the workers and communities that are already being impacted and to prepare for the clean energy economy.”

In 2015, Peabody was found to have broken the law by providing false and misleading statements about the financial risks of climate change.

“It is telling when a company whose entire business model is about selling dirty energy and blocking action on climate change goes belly-up. Just as fossil fuels are bad for business, so too is ignoring the major risks posed by climate change.”

When questioned in Senate Estimates last year, the head of Australia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – the Future Fund – didn’t know whether they were invested in Peabody.

“Over the past year, Peabody’s share price has dropped like a stone. Polluting the planet is obviously bad for business and institutions who invest in such companies are fiendishly irresponsible for putting their money anywhere near them.

“Today’s announcement emphasises the clear need for a transition strategy for everyone involved in the coal industry, especially here in Australia where we lag so far behind the rest of the world in waking up to how fast the move from fossil fuels is happening.

“The global agreement in Paris demonstrated that governments at all levels agree that a plan is needed and that we need action now.”

Media contact: Cambell Klose 0490 436 948 or Charlie Wood 0427 485 233