May 2, 2018

Bill McKibben leads action against Minerals Council as Rio shareholders vote on lobbying group memberships


CANBERRA, May 2, 2018: Internationally renowned climate campaigner and author Bill McKibben led a protest by local activists outside the Australian Minerals Council office in Canberra today, as Rio Tinto faced a shareholder resolution at its Melbourne AGM calling on the company to review its membership of lobbying groups like the MCA.

Several dozen residents with banners reading “Stop Adani, We Love the Reef, Fossil Fools, Clean Coal Dirty Lie, Knittings Nannas for a Fossil Free Future” gathered outside the Minerals Council Canberra office.

“Lobby groups like the Minerals Council of Australia have exerted too much influence in Australian politics for far too long,” said Bill McKibben, who is touring nationally to promote divestment from fossil fuels.

“It’s obvious that the Australian Federal Government isn’t prepared to stand up to big coal to save the climate. So we’ll have to go around them.  And one powerful way to stop the fossil fuel industry, and its lobbyists, is to starve them of investment, so fossil fuel divestment — now at over US$6 trillion globally — is critical.”

“Globally, local governments, private corporations and institutions such as the Catholic Church are already moving money away from fossil fuels. It’s vital that shareholders ensure their investments are not wrecking the climate. Companies can expect to see more of this sort of shareholder action and Rio Tinto would do well to heed this call.

Stop Adani Canberra Co-ordinator Annie Close said “I’m here today not just for my grandchildren but so that all children, including those of members of the Minerals Council can have a safe climate future.”

The Rio AGM resolution is filed by the 100 supportive shareholders and four organisations – Australaiasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Australian Local Government Super, the Church of England Pensions Board and the Seventh Swedish National Pension Board and represents $84bn in total assets under management.  

Bill McKibben will take the “Accelerate” climate action roadshow to the QT Hotel in Canberra tonight at 6pm. Tickets are available from Australia – book now.