Media release

Fossil industries stuck in the fossil age

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility​ (ACCR) is responding to comments made by Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn and the CEO of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), Andrew McConville at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the prudential regulation of investment in Australia’s export industries today.

Dan Gocher, Director of Climate & Environment at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“The parade of fossil fuel executives and lobbyists before the Parliamentary Inquiry today showed just how out of touch they are with financial markets, and their contempt for climate action.

“This inquiry was presumably established to show how difficult it is for Australian fossil fuel companies to attract finance and insurance. Given how out of touch these companies have demonstrated themselves to be in the hearing today - which may give financial services companies further reasons to decline to work with them - it is hard to see the inquiry as anything other than an own goal.

“Rather than responding to clear market signals, these companies continue to pursue the expansion of thermal coal and gas production, putting national and global emissions reduction targets at risk.

“Australia’s fossil fuel industry continues to make the ridiculous - and misleading - claim that Australian coal and gas ‘reduces global emissions’. Such claims have no basis in fact, and the inquiry should ensure witnesses are required to back up their claims with evidence.

“Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn wants Australian banks to be subject to a ‘Regional Australia Impact Test’, while ignoring the vast negative impacts his company has on regional Australia, including being fined for water theft, and the increased severity of bushfires, drought and floods.

“APPEA CEO Andrew McConville claimed, which was repeated by inquiry Chair George Christensen, that 70% of Australian gas is used for manufacturing. The reality is, according to the IEA, just 1% of Australian gas is used for feedstock in manufacturing. The vast majority is exported.

“For the Minerals Council of Australia, old habits die hard, as it defended Australia’s thermal coal industry. The reality is that thermal coal must go into immediate decline if Australia is to meet its climate goals. CEO Tania Constable referred to the mining industry’s sustainability credentials, ignoring the tens of thousands of mines that the industry has abandoned without rehabilitation.”


ACCR’s submission to the inquiry can be found here.

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