The Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Lend Lease open letter

Lend Lease open letter

Lend Lease, one of Australia’s biggest construction companies, has always been a leader on climate change and sustainability - which is why we were shocked to learn that its senior management is considering financing the most damaging coal port planned on the Great Barrier Reef coast.

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Dear Lend Lease board of Directors,

We are writing to request that Lend Lease discontinue all involvement in the proposed AP-X coal terminal development at Abbot Point.

The proposed terminal poses a specific threat to the marine environment of the Great Barrier Reef and a broader threat relating to global warming, when the coal that is shipped through the port is burned.

The development of AP-X would require several million tonnes of dredging, with the dredge spoil being dumped in the Reef’s waters. Dredging and dumping of seabed within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area will put the already struggling reef ecosystem under further strain. This development would also lead to thousands of additional ship movements each year, greatly increasing the risk to the Reef, its coral and wildlife being damaged by collisions and oil spills.

The coal that is to be shipped through Abbot Point will fuel climate disruption and extreme weather events. The world is facing a climate emergency and it is essential that we immediately reduce our emissions and phase out the use of coal. The expansion of Abbot Point would be a massive step in the opposite direction, enabling the mining of more coal in the Galilee and Bowen Basins in central Queensland.

The amount of coal just from the Galilee Basin at peak production will create more greenhouse gases than the entire domestic emissions from Australia or Canada. If the Galilee Basin coal deposits are developed, the world will have almost no chance of avoiding 2 degrees of warming.

Finally, we are sure that you will be following, as we are, the growing “carbon bubble” risk to fossil fuel assets as governments take action on climate change. We note in particular that in July, Goldman Sachs released a report in which they concluded that:“... overseas demand for thermal coal — the kind used in power plants — has been overestimated. New investments in thermal coal infrastructure, unless they come online quickly, will miss a rapidly closing window for profitability. In coming years, there won’t be enough demand growth to justify such investments.”

To conclude, we believe that there would be significant reputational and material risk for Lend Lease due to any involvement in the AP-X coal terminal. Several major Australian environmental organisations representing millions of people are opposed to its establishment. Increasingly the Australian public is becoming involved in the campaign to save an Australian icon, The Great Barrier Reef, from the threats posed by this development. Moreover, as the public becomes increasingly aware of the threats posed by the Galilee Basin, it is increasingly likely that projects associated with the mining of this region will be resisted by the community.

Lend Lease has a proud record of incorporating sustainability principles into its business. Involvement in the AP-X coal terminal development could ruin this legacy.

We urge you to immediately withdraw from any further involvement with this project.