Latest good news on the Go Fossil Free front

A quick summary of a whole lot of good news to refresh your spirits, and it's all happened in the month of May!

Here's a quick summary of a whole lot of good news to refresh your spirits, and it's all happened in the last month or so!

A month ago, one of the world’s largest funds managers, UK-based BankTrack has joined with FTSE to create a new set of guidelines that exclude companies that invest in fossil fuels from their stock market indices. This will help investors avoid coal, oil and gas companies without putting their money at risk.

On May 5th, Stanford University became the latest high profile institution to divest from fossil fuels, saying it would no longer make investments of its $18bn endowment fund in coal mining companies. Dozens of smaller universities have made similar decisions and there are campaigns on dozens more campuses in Australia as well as in the US.

Later in May, after some clever campaigning by Getp! Deutsche Bank and HSBC pulled their support for the expansion of coal ports off the Great Barrier Reef. UNESCO has drawn international attention to the “serious decline in the condition of the Great Barrier Reef” and has given the Australian government one year to take action or the World Heritage Area will be classified as “in danger”. A GetUp! sponsored legal challenge to the proposed dredging at Abbott Point is under way.

Everyone will have heard, of course, that the Obama Administration has introduced new rules to cut pollution in the US, which will have the effect of reducing the demand for fossil fuels. Unable to get carbon pricing legislation through Congress, the administration has forged a path through regulation through the Environmental Protection Authority. The US Catholic Bishops have sent an open letter supporting the move.

There is more pain to come for Australian thermal coal exporters as their second biggest customer, South Korea, announces a tax on coal power generation from July, and tough caps on carbon emissions from utilities and industry from 2015 as part of the world’s second biggest carbon trading scheme, according to a Reuters report.

Previous to this, various mining companies pulled their investment out of the Galilee Basin projects in Northern Queensland, so that there are only two Indian-based companies left – Adani and GVK. In the meantime both coal prices and the demand for coal in China and everywhere else is dropping and, in India, coal from Australia is far more expensive than the local product, which casts doubt on India’s demand for coal from Australia.

Now a survey by the Lonergan Institute commissioned by 350.org, shows that two-thirds of Australians would choose a bank or super fund that does not invest in fossil fuels over one that does.

Is the tide finally turning? These are all very hopeful signs.