The Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Open letter to the big 4 banks

Open letter to the big 4 banks

Today we’ve taken our campaign to the next level.

Dear [CEOs and Board members of the big 4 banks],

For nine months, young Australians have been calling on Australia’s big four banks to rule out investing in the Abbot Point and the Galilee Basin coal projects.

Today we are declaring these projects should be placed on a ‘black-list’, on behalf of 110,000 young Australians.

And it’s not just us. Last week ANZ Bank’s commodities analyst Mark Pervan recently stated: “Right now with thermal coal at $60 a tonne and the Galilee coal 500-odd kilometres from port, funding these projects doesn’t seem viable”[1]. We urge you to listen to your own advice and not to use your customers’ savings to invest in this financially risky project that would have such a negative impact on the Great Barrier Reef and the climate.

If you continue to ignore these calls, we will advocate for our 110,000 young supporters to dump your bank.

Today we’ve taken our campaign to the next level.

Across the country, your staff will arrive at work to find hundreds of your ATMs have been updated with new screens telling your customers that you could use their savings to risk the reef and the climate. Posters, stickers and chalk stencils can be seen across the nation asking people to dump you unless you rule out investing in Abbot Point. Now, our members are poised to help people move their money to another bank that has either ruled out this project or funding fossil fuels more generally unless you rule out funding Adani’s disastrous plans.

Over the past nine months we have spoken to over 400 Branch Managers, had hundreds of conversations with other bank staff members and have consistently met with senior management. Thousands of us have written you letters, and we even sang to CommBank on Valentines Day. Despite all this, you haven’t acted.

You have ignored thousands of young Australians. These young Australians could be customers for life, unless you ignore their concerns about the danger these projects present.

These projects are irresponsible and dangerous.

Opening the Galilee Basin coal reserves would be disastrous for our climate. The Adani Carmichael mine is set to increase coal exports by up to 60 million tonnes, and at full production the Galilee Basin will unlock more annual carbon emissions than Canada.[2] If we want to secure our future, this coal must remain in the ground. The level of emissions produced dramatically increases the risk of dangerous, runaway climate change, taking up 6 percent of the world’s carbon budget to remain below two degrees of warming, and this is something none of us can afford[3].

Further, the Great Barrier Reef is a national icon. We cannot risk losing it for a coal port. While commitments have been made to avoid dumping of dredge spoil in the reef, climate change will continue to threaten the survival of our much loved Great Barrier Reef.

You haven’t listened yet, so now it’s time for us to talk to you in ways you understand. In just two weeks, over 2000 people have pledged to “dump their bank” because they don’t want their savings used by you to fund reef destruction or fuel dangerous climate change. Thousands more will join them as more people will be visiting their local bank branch to leave you and others will talk to their friends and family to spread the word that their savings could be used to invest in building this giant new coal port on the Great Barrier Reef.  These people are both young and old - and represent significant revenue for your business.

The time has come for you to do the right thing by the Great Barrier Reef and our climate, and refuse to fund this risky project.


The Australian Youth Climate Coalition






Greenpeace Australia Pacific (2012), “Cooking the Climate, Wrecking the Reef, the  global impacts of   coal exports from Australia’s Galilee Basin”, Report,