RAN to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction


October 28, 2014



Claire Sandberg, claire@ran.org, 646-641-6431


RAN to Bank of America: Don’t Bankroll Reef Destruction

Australian coal port threatens global climate, Great Barrier Reef


San Francisco—Rainforest Action Network (RAN) called on Bank of America to rule out financing the controversial Abbot Point coal port in Queensland, Australia, a day after three major U.S. investment banks pledged to steer clear of the project. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs all assured RAN in writing that they would not finance the expansion of Abbot Point, but Bank of America has so far refused to take a position. The project would significantly harm the Great Barrier Reef–construction of the new port would require dredging part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area–and would drive global climate change by drastically increasing carbon emissions.

Earlier this year, Bank of America proclaimed that “society needs to transition from high-carbon to low-carbon energy, and the bank has a responsibility to accelerate this transition.” Last month, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan reiterated the bank’s commitment to climate action when he spoke at the U.N. climate summit in New York. But Bank of America’s stated environmental position clashes starkly with the bank’s refusal to rule out bankrolling the expansion of Abbot Point.

“If Brian Moynihan’s public remarks on climate mean anything, then Bank of America needs to reject Abbot Point,” said RAN Climate and Energy Program Director Amanda Starbuck. “It’s unbelievable that in the midst of a climate emergency, Bank of America would even consider bankrolling a carbon bomb on the scale of the Alberta tar sands. On top of it, Abbot Point poses an immediate threat to one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef. Bank of America needs to join the rest of its peers by rejecting this terrible project immediately.”

Building a new, larger export facility at Abbot Point is a key component of the plan to dramatically increase coal production in Australia’s Galilee Basin, one of the largest stores of carbon in the world. If the plan goes forward, Australia’s coal exports would likely double, and make the the country the number one coal exporter in the world. The proposed expansion has strong backing from the Australian government, but will require financial support from global investment banks to move ahead. Five major European banks (Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays, and Credit Agricole) publicly ruled out investment in Abbot Point earlier this year after months of campaigning from an international coalition. That group was joined yesterday by U.S. banks Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs, which all made public commitments under pressure from RAN.