March 7, 2017

Divestment movement unplugs Australia’s big polluters

 

EnergyAustralia, AGL and Origin – Australia’s biggest climate polluters — are the targets of a new divestment campaign by 350.org. “Power for Change” will empower thousands of customers to divest their homes from the big polluters and build community opposition to the climate and health impacts of fossil fuels.

This comes as new data shows The Big Three are responsible for nearly half of the emissions from Australia’s entire electricity system and their power stations are getting dirtier as they age.

“Our biggest energy companies are getting dirtier, despite the urgent need to halt climate pollution,” 350.org Energy spokesperson, Josh Creaser said.

  • Australia’s biggest climate polluter, AGL, has more than doubled its carbon emissions over the past 3 years. AGL plans to burn brown coal until 2050.
  • Since buying the Eraring power station on the NSW Central Coast Origin Energy’s emissions have increased fourfold.
  • Once Hazelwood Power station closes at the end of March, EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn power station will be the most carbon intensive in the country. The company has no plans to close its coal power stations.

“Australia should be a world leader in clean energy yet our biggest power companies are still handcuffing us to the dirty energy sources of the 19th century.

“At a time when Australians are feeling the worst impacts of climate change, including catastrophic bushfire conditions and more extreme bleaching expected on the Great Barrier Reef, there’s no room for the Big 3 to be spewing more carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

“We are working with people across the country to get the Big Polluters out of our homes, communities and politics. This includes giving household customers a platform to complain, agitate and ultimately divest.”

They also lead to detrimental health impacts on local communities.

“The scientific evidence is absolutely clear. Pollution from coal power is extremely harmful to human health and the big three power companies must be forced to take responsibility for the damage they are inflicting on communities, by rapidly closing their coal fired power stations, and moving towards clean, health, renewable energy sources,”. said Dr Peter Sainsbury, Adjunct Professor, University of Notre Dame School of Medicine.

Media contact: Cambell Klose 0490436948

 

Key Facts:

AGL

  •      Australia’s number one climate polluter, the company’s climate emissions have more than doubled in the last 3 years
  •      Have plans to keep burning brown coal (particularly dirty) in Victoria until 2050.
  •      85% of their power comes from coal and gas and they have plans to build a new gas plant and import facility south eastern Australia
  •      They have long list of lobbyists that trawl the halls of Parliament and has been found guilty on several occasions for making donations to political parties to win favourable approvals for its coal seam gas projects.

Origin

  •      Origin has pushed hard for Australia to become one of the world’s largest exports of gas which is driving dangerous coal seam gas drilling across Queensland.
  •      Since buying the Eraring coal power station on the Central Coast in 2013, Origin’s emissions have increased fourfold.
  •      Fined by the NSW EPA at the start of 2016 for allowing harmful coal ash to become airborne at its Eraring power station, adjacent to many houses.
  •      90% of  the electricity it produces comes from coal and gas
  •      A whistleblower claims former Origin CEO Grant King oversaw a major cover up of non-compliance across the Coal Seam Gas business that put the health and lives of communities at risk.

Energy Australia

  •      Owns what will soon be Australia’s dirtiest coal power station (Yallourn in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria) and yet has no closure plans in place for any of its coal plants.
  •      89% of the electricity it produces comes from coal and gas
  •      Have actively undermined progress in renewable energy by refusing to issue the power purchase agreements (PPAs) which renewable energy generators need to ensure they have customers for their power.
  •      Along with Origin Energy were part of a sustained attack on the Renewable Energy Target when it was being considered in 2013

     Has made no commitments or timelines to close its coal power plants.

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