October 25, 2016

City of Sydney’s decision to dump investments in coal, oil and gas investments sends clear message to the banks: 350.org Australia

350.org Australia congratulates the City of Sydney for taking the fight to the banks over fossil fuels after it last night voted to shift its investments away from coal, oil, and gas. The City of Sydney currently has more than $500 million in investments.

Dr Carrie Tsai, Coordinator of 350.org Sydney Fossil Free Councils Group – who has been campaigning for the council to divest – said the council has made a bold statement.

“Sydney is the business capital of Australia and the council has more than half a billion dollars in investments,” Dr Tsai said. “Today’s decision sends a clear message to coal, oil and gas companies around the world: you are bad business, both financially and for the planet.”

“The impacts of climate change are being felt around the world. The City of Sydney has made the correct choice in choosing to divest from fossil fuel companies and ensures the Council remains as Australia’s climate leader.

“There is also a strong financial imperative to shift assets away from fossil fuels. With the Paris Agreement now ratified globally, coal, oil and gas companies will become ‘stranded assets’ as the market shifts toward clean energy alternatives.”

The City of Sydney’s decision will mean preferentially placing its investments in banks that don’t fund fossil fuels over those that do, given similar risk and rate of return. In Australia, the vast majority of loans for coal, oil, and gas projects are supported by the Big Four banks.

Local government divestment has rapidly gained momentum in Australia. Sydney is the 28th Australian council and 10th NSW council approve motions to divest its ratepayers money from fossil fuels.

The recent local government elections in September saw a significant shift away from conservative councillors toward more progressive independent and Greens candidates in NSW. This shift is likely to provide a further boost to divestment motions as ethically responsible councillors seek to ensure that their ratepayers money is not propping up the fossil fuel industry.

Media contacts:

Cambell Klose 0490 436 948

350.org Sydney, Gillian 0466 5106501