French banks won't support mines near Great Barrier Reef


GREEN groups are urging Australia's big four banks to pull loans and investments from coal mines and ports near the Great Barrier Reef, after three French banks pledged to do so.

The major French banks BNP Paribas, Societe Generale and Credit Agricole on Wednesday confirmed they would not invest in Abbot Point port or Galilee basin coal mines.

While the banks had little stake, the announcement brought to 11 the number of financial institutions bowing to growing pressure not to invest in coal-related projects in Queensland.

Australian Youth Climate Coalition's national director Kirsty Albion said concerned young Australians had some 4000 conversations with the big Australian banks' staff.

She said those calls were part of the wider environmental campaign the coalition was running to urge the banks not to fund coal projects near the reef.

However the mining industry and Carmichael mine proponent Adani has previously rejected their concerns, arguing the coal would be bought from elsewhere if the Galilee basin was not exploited.

The Australian banks have similarly not heeded calls to pull funding or loans, given commercial arrangements were already in place.

The latest push comes as the World Heritage Committee prepares for a decision on whether the entire reef would be listed as a World Heritage site "in danger".

While the Australian Government recently released its Reef 2050 plan in an effort to guide future management and prevent the listing, scientists have criticised the plan as inadequate.

Among them, Professor Terry Hughes from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef studies has said the $2 billion invested was not enough, and the plan put little focus on climate change, the reef's biggest long-term threat.

Topics:  abbot point banks business france

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