The recent Climate of the Nation 2019 report found that more than 50% of Australians want the country to step up at the UN Climate Summit and undertake further climate action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Divestment from fossil fuels by the Future Fund could make a meaningful contribution to this target.
Momentum is growing for a new alliance taking aim at the Future Fund – Australia’s national ‘nest egg’, by questioning the billions of dollars invested in fossil fuel projects from the nation’s wealth fund.
Activist groups, not-for-profits, fund managers and climate champions have united with the initiative Our Future Fund, including students from around the country.
The initiative is backed by climate champions Laura Wells, Josh Gilbert, 350.org, international aid agency Caritas Australia and funds manager Impact Invest Group, who are calling for greater transparency in fund investments and a move from fossil fuels to deliver on its stated promise for the benefit of future generations of Australians’.
A recent national poll from Essential Media shows the majority (86%) of Australians feel they have a right to know what investments are being made on their behalf by the national wealth fund.
Campaign Manager from leading climate activist group 350.org, Glen Klatovsky said, “the initiative is asking Australia’s Future Fund Board of Guardians (including its Chair Peter Costello) and Treasurer Josh Frydenburg to divest from fossil fuel by 2030, a move which is supported by the majority (68%) of Australians polled.”
Mr Klatovsky said this means moving away from all investments that worsen the climate crisis, whether that be coal mines, gas port terminals and last centuries fossil fuel power plants, to deliver on its promise to benefit future generations of Australians.
The Future Fund currently manages $200 billion – in essence, it is Australia’s savings fund – however, billions of taxpayer dollars are being invested in the fossil fuel industry, creating real risks for future generations given its impact on climate change.
Mr Klatovsky explained Our Future Fund is also calling for transparency in all of the investments made by the Future Fund, noting the surprisingly limited amount of public information available on the levels of fossil fuel investment.
To achieve emissions reductions consistent with the Paris Agreement 2°C target, Australia would need to source a minimum of 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. And globally, around 80% of declared fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground.
A shift from fossil fuels
With Australia recently named the third-largest exporter of CO2 in fossil fuels globally and one of the largest per capita polluters, Mr Klatovsky acknowledges that divestment from fossil fuel companies is one of the best climate policy instruments to combat climate change.
“Our country has huge potential to transition to an economy powered increasingly by renewable energy and has champions of change already in action. The Australian Capital Territory and South Australia are leading the
way in renewables and already seeing increasing economic benefits from these efforts,” he said.
Globally, close to 1,000 institutional investors, managing more than $6 trillion, have now committed to fossil fuel divestment. They are driven by concerns about global warming and financial losses. Specifically, Norway’s government fund worth $850 billion and the biggest sovereign investment fund in the world recently committed to full divestment from fossil fuels – an aspiration of the Our Future Fund initiative.
This media release was submitted by The Bravery.
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Feature image by Melissa Walker-Horn via Unsplash.