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Article

30 Jan 2020

Author:
Friends of the Earth Australia

Bushfire survivors launch claim against ANZ under international law for financing climate change

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30 January 2020

Australian Bushfire victims, together with Friends of the Earth Australia, will launch a claim against ANZ under international law to hold the bank accountable for financing fossil fuel projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

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The complaint demands that the bank disclose its high-risk greenhouse gas emissions, including indirect emissions resulting from its business lending and investment portfolio; and publish ambitious, concrete, and measurable targets to lower its indirect greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Crucially, the complaint submits that meeting Paris Agreement targets requires divestment from fossil fuel industries, including a bank-wide ban on financing new coal-fired power plants.

While fires ravage Australia and many banks globally have taken action to mitigate climate change impact, ANZ continues to finance dirty fossil fuel projects. Since the 2015 Paris Agreement alone, ANZ has lent AUD$8.76 Billion to the fossil fuel sector and expansionary projects, enabling the emission of 2.8 billion tonnes of CO2. Its investment in coal has increased 34% over the last 2 years and is the largest fossil fuel financier of the big four Australia banks.

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Friends of the Earth Australia believes ANZ has breached the OECD Guidelines and is now taking legal action against the bank for:

  • Non-disclosure of scope 3 (including lending) emissions throughout ANZ sustainability reports and climate change disclosures;
  • Inadequate systems of due diligence and environmental management due to ANZ’s continued investment in fossil fuels, and lack of policies to reduce investment in major fossil fuel industries such as coal, oil and gas; and
  • Misleading the public and consumers by publicly supporting the Paris Agreement targets, while continuing to invest in projects that undermine the meeting of those targets.

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