Sydney can now add its name to the list of cities working to divest money away from fossil fuels. The city council is working toward a policy that would divest $500 million from banks investing in fossil fuels. Although the Australian city faces an election this Saturday, campaigners think the policy will go through regardless of the election’s outcome.
Current Lord Mayor Clover Moore called for a policy that would place fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal on the council’s “environmentally harmful activities” list and would prioritize investing in institutions that put money into sustainable activities instead. Right now the council manages over $500 million. According to Moore, 56 percent of the council’s funds go toward the “big four” banks in Australia. But in 2015, those four banks put $5.5 billion into oil, natural gas, and coal.
The council passed the motion calling for the policy unanimously. After the election they’re expected to devise an investment policy divesting from fossil fuels that the council would need to approve. Moore has already said she’ll work to move the policy forward if re-elected.
The motion was supported by independent councilors and those from the Liberal, Labor, and Greens parties. Campaigner Isaac Astill of 350.org, a group that lobbied for the policy, said it appears the policy has “wide appeal” and that it will likely “sail through after the election.”
Finding new banks in which to invest could still be a challenge. Moore told Guardian Australia, “Climate change is the most important issue of our times. We urgently need to reduce our greenhouse emissions and move away from fossil fuels to clean energy – but we are currently frustrated by the market offerings for green investments and the ability of smaller banks without loans to fossil fuel projects to accept more of our deposits.”
Via The Guardian