Australia’s ANZ bank will provide A$10 billion ($7b) in low carbon funding by 2020 and stop financing conventional coal-fired power plants, it said in a new climate change statement.
ANZ said it supported the aim of limiting global warming to 2C, and that it wanted to “facilitate a gradual and orderly transition” away from fossil fuels to clean energy sources such as wind and solar.
“We will fund and facilitate at least $10 billion by 2020 to support our customers to transition to a low carbon economy, including increased energy efficiency in industry, low emissions transport, green buildings, reforestation, renewable energy and battery storage, emerging technologies (such as carbon capture and storage) and climate change adaptation measures,” it said.
It also pledged to stop funding conventional coal plants but would consider new coal plants that use clean technology to keep greenhouse gas emissions below 0.8 tonnes of CO2 per megawatt hour.
ANZ, the first of Australia’s big four banks to make such pledges, called on policy-makers to put in place the regulatory certainty required for making investments of the scale needed to shift to low-carbon economies in Australia and other nations.
“To encourage investment and drive the structural change needed to accelerate the transition ANZ supports international agreement and collaboration, combined with cost-effective policy settings and regulatory certainty in the countries in which we operate,” the bank said.
In Australia, renewable energy investments have plummeted amid years of uncertainty over future climate policies. The recent downfall of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sparked new optimism in the renewables industry, with Malcolm Turnbull thought to be much more supportive of wind and solar than his predecessor.
So far actual policy changes have been subtle, such as moving the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation back into the environment portfolio, but an overall review of Australia’s climate policy is due in 2017.
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org