March 17, 2016

End of coal is here as bankruptcy looms for world’s largest private coal company

SYDNEY, 17/03/16: The imminent bankruptcy of Peabody Energy, one of the world’s largest coal companies, shows in no uncertain terms that the end of coal is here, according to Australia’s CEO Blair Palese.
Coal has been in structural decline post 2013 and with Peabody now facing likely bankruptcy the need to create a comprehensive plan for communities to transition away from coal is again highlighted.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 paint this as just a cyclical downturn, but it’s not,” the CEO of 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.”

Peabody Energy has lost 95 cents on the dollar over the course of the last year and has previously been found to have broken the law by providing false and misleading statements about the financial risks of climate change.

“This is a company that has bet its future on selling dirty energy and blocking action on climate change. 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.

“This is a clear wakeup call of the need for a transition strategy for everyone involved in the coal industry. Australia currently lags behind the rest of the world. As we replace dirty fossil fuels with renewable energy we must bring communities along too. That includes a just transition for Peabody’s employees and all workers in the fossil fuel industry.”

Media contact: Cambell Klose 0490 436 948