Ian Dunlop, the former chair of the Australian Coal Association and CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, said reports that the Future Fund was considering financing of Adani’s controversial coal mining project in the Galilee Basin suggested its chairman Peter Costello has “lost the plot.”
Reports emerged this week that the Future Fund had been approached by the Indian company to provide finance, after more than a dozen international banks refused to lend money to the project. The reports suggested that Indian Foreign Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to meet Costello, the former Howard government treasurer, this Friday.
“It is extraordinary that faced with the structural decline of thermal coal and even a basic understanding of climate change, Peter Costello would entertain the possibility of funding Adani’s Galilee Basin coal mine,” Dunlop said in a statement.
“It seems remarkable, but perhaps the former Treasurer hasn’t noticed the coal boom has ended. One would hope that his fellow board members would have greater foresight.
“Informed leaders, scientists and economists around the world are now urging an emergency response to address accelerating global warming.
“Contrary to recent government and industry rhetoric, increasing coal consumption in India will create massive poverty, not alleviate it. Building mega-coal mines in current circumstances is nothing less than a crime against humanity.
“Common sense and economics indicate the Future Fund should focus on the enormous opportunity of creating the 21st century low-carbon world, rather than perpetuating outdated 20th century high-carbon business models.”
“Future Fund Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to objectively assess and manage the risks and opportunities implicit in their investments. Failure to honestly account for climate risk will expose Board members to personal liability, as is happening overseas.”
“Prosperity now depends upon avoiding the kind of short-termist “groupthink” that has so bedevilled Australia by propping up a dying yet dangerous coal industry and blocking real innovation.”