Published on December 15th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
National Australia Bank Ceases Financing Of New Thermal Coal Mining
December 15th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
The National Australia Bank, one of the country’s leading banks, announced this week that it will cease financing new thermal coal mining projects, becoming the first major bank in the country to make such a decision.
In a move that might signal a significant shift in Australia’s energy landscape, one of the country’s largest banks, the National Australia Bank (NAB), announced on Thursday that it would no longer finance new thermal coal mining projects. The flip-side of the announcement is that the Bank will “continue to support our existing customers across the mining and energy sectors, including those with existing coal assets” but it’s a significant move nonetheless.
NAB almost flippantly made the announcement in a four-line update on Thursday titled simply, “Update on Financing of New Thermal Coal Mining Projects.”
What’s interesting, however, is that as one of the major banks in a country that is historically and globally renowned as utterly reliant on coal — for energy generation and for exporting — this represents the beginning of a shift. It is by no means a tipping point, but is this the first step toward a national shift away from coal.
Australia is currently enmeshed in a massive political debate about the future of the country’s energy mix — and which has reached a fever-pitch as we enter into Summer which will stretch electricity resources on the hottest days. Throw into the mix the mess which is the proposed Adani coal mine in Carmichael, central Queensland, against new and ambitious renewable energy source targets in South Australia and Victoria and the recently-completed Tesla battery, also in South Australia.
There is definitely a slow political shift away from coal — with the country’s Labor and Green party’s both advocating for expansive renewable energy targets — and the country’s business and utility leaders following in the wake of the global transition to a low-carbon economy. But the current federal ruling Liberal party is historically and obstinately dedicated to coal and is willing to spin the truth to further the country’s reliance on coal.
Whether NAB’s decision to stop investing in new coal will be mirrored by other major banks and financial institutions or not, only time will tell.