Greenpeace Slams Australia’s Big 4 Banks’ Coal Power Investment

Greenpeace Slams Australia’s Big 4 Banks’ Coal Power Investment 
  
A report prepared for Greenpeace Australia Pacific has found Australia’s big four banks are pouring huge amounts of money into the most polluting form of power generation: coal.
  
Greenpeace charges that the ANZ, National, Commonwealth and Westpac are investing billions of dollars into the coal industry while promoting an image of community responsibility and environmental sustainability.
  
In reference to some banks having received awards for sustainability practices, Greenpeace says, “There is little point installing efficient light bulbs while continuing to finance the expansion of the coal industry.”
  
While more money was invested globally in renewable power sources such as solar energy than fossil fuels last year; according to the research, over the last five years Australia’s big banks have invested over $5 billion in the coal industry but only $0.78 billion into renewable energy.
  
The report, “Pillars of Pollution: How Australia’s Big Four Banks Are Propping Up Pollution”,  states ANZ is the biggest financier of coal power stations and coal mines, while Commonwealth is the biggest financier of coal export ports.
  
The organisation points out that renewable energy investment provides good returns, so the banks don’t need to make these “destructive investment choices” in order to generate profits.
  
Greenpeace believes it is technically and physically possible for all of Australia’s polluting coal power stations to be replaced with a combination of seven renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency measures over the next ten years..
  
Greenpeace is urging environmentally-conscious customers of the big 4 banks to register their concerns with the banks or to seek out alternatives such as credit unions and co-operative banks.
  
Source: Pillars of Pollution (pdf)
 
Update: According to an article on the Sydney Morning Herald, Westpac has "flagged its lending policies will favour energy efficiency and clean energy projects over new coal-fired power stations as momentum grows for the introduction of a price on carbon emissions." – Source