Organisations representing 50 million members tell UK’s Standard Chartered Bank to say no to Galilee Reef and Coal Disaster
May 20, 2015
London, 20 May 2015 – A collection of 13 civil society organisations, representing almost 50 million members, have sent a joint letter to UK Bank Standard Chartered, calling on them to rule out involvement in the Galilee Basin coal mines and port expansions on the Great Barrier Reef.
The letter comes after a recent court case in Queensland revealed that Standard Chartered had previously given a loan of $680 million to the controversial Carmichael Mine and Rail Project – a claim the bank disputes – the first to be moving ahead in exploiting the Galilee Basin’s coal reserves.
The Carmichael project will see up to 60 million tonnes of coal per year shipped through the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living coral system in the world. The letter signatories note that the coal project will have devastating impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, as it will both exacerbate the rate of climate change, which is the biggest long term threat to the Reef, and pose significant risks to the delicate coral system from increased likelihood of coal ash spills and shipping collisions.
“Already 11 major global banks, including the major lenders to Australian coal projects, have said no to this disaster of a project because they see that it ticks every risk box on the books,” said Charlie Wood, 350.org Australia campaigns director.
“The Australian government’s best lobbying efforts cannot obscure the fact that, since 1985, 50% of the Great Barrier Reef has disappeared and climate change is the Reef’s number one threat,” said Katherine Tu, Campaigner at SumOfUs.
“This one project is the canary in the coal mine – a signifier of the impending climate risks we face if we do not leave this coal in the ground and a project that no bank should touch,” Tu said.
“As an active advisor on the project, Standard Chartered is in a unique position to stop one of the world’s biggest coal projects from seeing the light of day. However if they fail to show leadership, they will have helped put the final nail in the coffin of one of the world’s greatest natural icons – the Great Barrier Reef,” said Sebastian Bock, investment campaigner at Greenpeace UK.
“High levels of public concern about this project have already been demonstrated at the local, national, and international levels, with several million people having taken action to oppose them. This concern will only continue to grow. Standard Chartered is placing its brand on the line by involving itself in this disaster. They should get out now while they still can,” concluded Wood.
A 2015 report recently ranked the Abbot Point project the third biggest threat to corporate reputation of any project currently progressing globally (from 12,000 assessed). If burned, Galilee Basin coal would release more emissions than the UK or Canada. At their AGM two weeks ago, Standard Chartered indicated that they would put further involvement in the project on hold until they had reviewed its environmental credentials.
Signatories to the letter include: Greenpeace, Avaaz, 350.org, The Sierra Club, SumOfUs, 38 Degrees, Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, The Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping and Dredging, The Mackay Conservation Council, Friends of the Earth United States, Friends of the Earth Australia and Market Forces.
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