Australia's coal city backs green future

2015-08-26 16:09


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sydney - Australia's city of Newcastle, which claims the world's biggest coal export port, said on Wednesday it will pull money out of fossil fuel industries as it invests in more sustainable enterprises.

Newcastle City Council, which manages a US$191m investment fund for Australia's seventh largest city, voted late on Tuesday to progressively move towards "environmentally and socially responsible investments".

"Coal undoubtedly makes up a really significant portion of our local economy, but we're also increasingly becoming an energy hub more broadly," councillor Declan Clausen told AFP.

"Coal exports are going to continue... but we'll also be focusing our investment away from really large, new, environmentally damaging resource projects towards things that are more sustainable in line with the changing expectations of the broader community."

Newcastle, about 170km north of Sydney, is one of the biggest councils in Australia to vote to divest from carbon-heavy industries.

Its decision came just days after the national capital Canberra's local government said it would continue to divest its portfolio of high-carbon emitting companies and sectors while aiming to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025.

Coal is Australia's second-largest export after iron ore and conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott has repeatedly stressed the importance of the fuel to the nation's prosperity, saying on one occasion that "coal is good for humanity".

But with its heavy use of coal-fired power and relatively small population of 23 million, Australia is considered one of the world's worst per capita greenhouse gas polluters.

In announcing Australia's plans to reduce carbon emissions by 26% from 2005 levels by 2030 earlier this month, Abbott said the government's commitment to the environment had to be balanced against economic growth and jobs.

He has also supported a massive India-backed coal mine project in Queensland state which environment groups say will further exacerbate climate change.

Newcastle's Deputy Mayor Michael Osborne told AFP the divestment would "start happening straight away" and continue as investments are due for renewal, with the shift expected to be completed in about five years.

Activities considered to be environmentally or socially harmful include the production of pollutants, habitat destruction, nuclear power, uranium mining and human rights or labour abuses, the council said.

Industries listed as environmentally or socially productive include resource-efficient business, renewable energy and recycling firms, fair trade and equal opportunity employers.

Read more on:    australia

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.