The planet is already too hot and our remaining carbon budget is zero. Every tonne of coal and gas that is dug up will end up being burnt, and will push the planet further towards climate catastrophe. The massive coal gas mining expansion planned by Australian companies and governments is one the largest and most destructive in the world. In 2012-2013, following publication of his Rolling Stone article, Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math, Bill McKibben and 350.org toured the United States and Australia to convey the message that if it is wrong to destroy the planet then it is also wrong to profit from that destruction.
That tour seeded a number of divestment groups, mainly centred in universities, and 350.org developed an on-the-ground presence in Australia for the first time. There are groups campaigning on divestment at the University of Melbourne, Latrobe University and RMIT. 350.org is also working with local climate groups, including Climate Action Moreland, to put pressure on local councils to divest.
Expert advice on where to invest your money and on which banks are funding coal and gas projects is available from Market Forces, a collective within Friends of the Earth. Market Forces and 350.org are collaborating in a divestment campaign targeting the ‘big four’ banks, ANZ, Commonwealth, National Australia Bank and Westpac, for their investments in coal and gas.
The Australia Institute, in conjunction with 350.org and Market Forces have written a report, Climate proofing your finances: Making your money fossil free, which highlights the ways in which everyday Australians inadvertently help finance the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. Read the report here.
We also now have a free service run by social enterprise, Fossil Free, which can help you with the process of changing your bank, superannuation company or electricity provider. Part of the commission this organisation receives goes back to the community group which made the referral. It’s an option for helping fund your group’s campaigning.