Move Beyond Coal

Move Beyond Coal Update July 2023 : Victory for People Power

Monday 17 July: Whitehaven coal announced at their quarterly update that they have not renewed their $1 billion rotating debt facility, which signifies a win for people power, lives, livelihoods and ecosystems everywhere. People of faith from Tasmania to Townsville have been part of this relentless movement to prevent one of Australia's biggest banks from giving money to one of Australia's biggest coal companies. This sends a powerful message to the coal industry; that together, our movement is powerful, strategic and are not afraid of a good fight. We are stopping finance for climate-wrecking coal expansion together, and will continue to do so.

While we were focussed on NAB’s funding of Whitehaven coal, our very public pressure on coal lending had a ripple effect on the other banks: none of the big banks were prepared to refinance Whitehaven’s $1bn loan. Japanese mega banks like Mizuho, SMBC and MUFG have also pulled out of the lending syndicate. This lack of interest is an incredible contrast with when Whitehave sought to refinance the same debt in February 2020 and reported that they were oversubscribed with interest from lenders. That means Whitehaven is having to finance its own coal expansion plans and less money will be returned to shareholders.

Congratulations to all those who turned out early in the morning, gave out hundreds of leaflets, engaged with NAB staff and executives on the phone, email, calendars, LinkedIn, took risks, organised rallies, went into AGMs, and fronted the media. Your courage and persistence has been rewarded. It’s important to celebrate, rest and reflect before we continue this work

May be an image of 13 people and text that says "VICKERY IS MISERY People of faith say: NAB don't fund Whitehaven Coal NAB FUNDS CLIMATE"

Move Beyond Coal Update May 2023

Despite their climate policy, NAB has given $3.3 billion to coal since the Paris Agreement, and is clearly complicit in fueling the climate crisis. Move Beyond Coal groups around the country are asked to deliver Market Forces's 'Banking Climate Failure' report to their local NAB branches, and there are flagship actions planned on the 31st May in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. The timing of this is crucial as it is possibly the campaign's last chance to turn up the pressure on NAB before they decide on whether to refinance Whitehaven towards the end of the financial year. We need people of faith to turn up in huge numbers to make an impact and tell NAB staff and executives they must not renew their loan to Whitehaven Coal. Please save the date in your diaries and be part of a powerful demonstration of people power

Banking Climate Failure Lunchtime Digital Storm
Tuesday 30 May 12.30pm AEST
RSVP here


NAB’s Climate Failure - Sydney Human Chain
Wednesday 31st May 8.30am
NAB HQ, 2 Carrington St, Sydney
RSVP here

NAB’s Climate Failure - Brisbane Human Chain
Wednesday 31st May 10am
NAB Brisbane, 255 Queen St, Brisbane
RSVP here

NAB is banking climate failure - Melbourne/Naarm Report Drop
Wednesday 31st May 4.30pm

NAB HQ, 395 Bourke St, Melbourne
RSVP here

Parramatta Says: NAB Don't Fund Coal
Friday 2nd June 8.15am

NAB HQ, 3 Parramatta Square
RSVP here

Survival Guide for Humanity

In March 2023, scientists from the authoritative UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a much-anticipated report titled “Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as a “how-to guide to defuse the climate time-bomb.” This study urged for immediate action to be taken now, across all sectors, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change. The number 1 key solution to mitigate climate change is to retire coal plants. 

While Australia has plans in place to shut its domestic coal power plants (Liddle power plant in NSW recently powered down at the end of April to be repurposed as an industrial renewable energy hub), coal exports remain our biggest contributor to the climate crisis. This means that coal dug up on unceded Aboriginal country is still being burnt in power stations overseas, and the resulting emissions and global heating is hitting the most vulnerable people and ecosystems especially hard. The coal industry meanwhile are still enjoying high prices of coal, the Albanese government have no plans to stop new coal and gas, and major Australian banks continue to fund coal companies.  

NAB #NotAnotherDollar for Whitehaven Coal

Whitehaven Coal is Australia's largest coal-only miner, they plan to double their coal output with four dangerous new coal projects (Vickery, Narrabri Underground, Winchester South and Gorman North), and National Australia Bank (NAB) are funding the expansion.

Since 2016 NAB have loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Whitehaven, including most recently a loan of $110 million in 2020. Whitehaven needs another $4 billion to get their coal expansion plans off the ground, and it's likely they'll approach previous funders like NAB for help first.

The world’s scientists warn that all coal expansion must stop immediately to avoid runaway climate change. We cannot afford another dollar for coal, and people of faith say #NoFaithInCoal.

That's why ARRCC are joining others across the continent to take part in an array of creative and empowering tactics to tell NAB to rule out funding Whitehaven Coal. The first nationwide mobilisation was in October 2022. Faith groups around the country have ‘adopted’ NAB branches around the country and sought meetings with branch managers. Some ARRCC supporters bought shares in Whitehaven Coal so that others may go to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) as shareholder proxies to challenge the cult of coal. People of faith took part in rallies in Mackay, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Wollonggong, Melbourne, Sydney, Parramatta and online. At the end of the year, we also organised rallies outside NAB's Sydney and Melbourne headquarters on the day of their AGM.

Colourful rally outside NAB's AGM organised by ARRCC supporters in Melbourne.

March 2023: Flood NAB 10 Days of Action. It was bigger, better and bolder than we ever could've imagined, clocking up 80+ actions online, inside and outside NAB branches and offices across the country. People of faith were an integral part of this massive mobilisation. We organised rallies at NAB's Melbourne HQ and in Sydney collaborated with 350 Australia for a rally outside of AFR's banking summit to call out the big 4 banks and their funding of fossil fuel companies. There were Christian and multi-faith pray-ins, branch actions with songs and storytelling, and online email and LinkedIn actions. 

Vickery Coal Mine Announcement

In 2021, 8 school students, accompanied by ARRCC supporter Sr. Brigid Arthur took legal action against Sussan Ley, the former Minister for the Environment to prevent the approval of Whitehaven's Vickery coal mine. The courts initially found that the minister did have a duty of care to protect young people against climate harm but the decision was overturned on appeal and the Vickery coal project was given federal approval.

At the end of April 2023, Whitehaven announced that they are fast-tracking a smaller version of Vickery, having enjoyed super profits from record-high coal prices as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. However, they still need funding from NAB to operate the mine at full scale.

Sr. Brigid Athur pictured with the young litigants and Senator Mehreen Faruqi

May 2023 is a crucial month of the campaign. NAB will announce mid year if they will renew Whitehaven's debt facility, and we must continue the good work of Sr Brigid and the students by calling on NAB to publicly end funding for Whitehaven. Local groups are consistently taking branch actions, sending emails, texts and LinkedIn messages to the NAB board, and we are collaborating with other movement partners to take bold actions at NAB headquarters in capital cities. 

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