March 16, 2015

World’s largest sovereign wealth fund divests from Australian coal

MELBOURNE, 17th March: Australia applauds the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (NGPF) – on its decision to divest from dozens of coal companies including Whitehaven Coal and Adani upon the fund to take the next step in divesting fully from fossil fuels.

The decision will see five Australian coal companies divested, including pure-play coal miner Whitehaven Coal, whose controversial Maules Creek mine has been the focus of Australia’s longest running community coal mine blockade, and Adani Power, whose parent company is the proponent of the controversial Carmichael coal mine and Abbot Point coal port expansion in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

“In divesting from dozens of coal companies, one of the world’s largest coal investors has sent a clear message that Australia’s continued pursuit of new coal expansion is sheer folly,” said Australia Campaigns Director Charlie Wood.

“Experts agree that 90% of Australian coal must stay in the ground to secure a livable planet and avoid stranded fossil fuel assets, yet companies like Adani and Whitehaven are determined to dig this coal up at any cost.

“The NGPF is siding with hundreds of investors worldwide who are divesting because they see that the writing is on the wall for fossil fuels. The age of coal is over. Companies that continue to seek investors for coal expansion will face an ever increasing battle from hereon in.

In addition to the Australian companies, 13 Indian companies have been dropped including, as noted, Indian mining giant Adani Power, whose Carmichael coal mine, in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, will be contested in the Queensland Land Court later this month. If it were a country, the Galilee Basin would be the 7th largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

“In the past week, there are reports that the State Bank of India will withdraw its slated $1bn loan for Adani. Coupled with the NGPF’s divestment of Adani Power, this sends a strong signal that the Galilee Basin mines are in significant trouble.

“As the world’s largest coal consumer, China, caps its coal use and now one of the world’s largest coal investor divests, being a coal company is only going to get more difficult,” concluded Wood

Media Enquiries: May Ng  0420 733 429