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Sixteen organisations including Jubilee Australia, Oxfam, the Australia Institute and the Australian Conservation Foundation have sent a joint letter to the board of Export Finance Australia (EFA) calling on them to direct the government agency to stop financing coal, oil and gas industries.

“We urge Australia to join governments worldwide that are moving away from using export finance to fund fossil fuel projects,” the coalition of environmental, economic justice and research organisations wrote in the letter.

They pointed to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned that the worst ravages of climate breakdown can only be averted through a near immediate shift to a low-carbon economy and society.

“People in Australia are experiencing more powerful storms, dangerous floods, destructive marine and land heatwaves, coastal erosion, and a new age of megafires,” the organisations wrote.

“A transition away from fossil fuels must happen this decade to protect local communities in Australia from a future unliveable world, made so due to climate change.”

EFA has a long history of supporting fossil fuel projects both overseas and in Australia.

A review of the agency’s transaction registers by Jubilee Australia Research Centre, which spearheaded the letter to the EFA board, revealed that EFA gave up to $1.69 billion in financing to coal, oil and gas industries between 2009 and 2020 (see the report, Hot Money).

“Australia is behind the rest of the world when it comes to shifting export finance away from fossil fuels,” said Dina Rui, Jubilee’s Campaigns Director.

“Last year, the UK ended its public financing of fossil fuels overseas, seven countries in Europe agreed to end trade and export financing of unabated coal power and other thermal-coal related infrastructure, and 39 governments and public finance institutions around the world promised to stop their public financing of unabated fossil fuels by the end of 2022,” Rui said.

“Australia has not only turned a blind eye to this turning tide but is actively placing us on the fast track to climate disaster by continuing to invest in the fossil fuel industry. These investments will likely soon become stranded assets—thorns in EFA’s finance portfolio.”

In the letter to the EFA board, the organisations said Australia must sign the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition and immediately end finance for fossil fuel developments both overseas and in Australia.

Read the letter

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on Unsplash