Newcastle’s ‘divestment’ is a chance for coal rethink

While the Newcastle council decision may not trigger divestment from fossil fuels, it is a chance for the world’s largest coal port to consider its future direction.

The City of Newcastle council’s Tuesday night endorsement of an “environmentally and socially responsible” investment policy threw more mud than a pig wrestling competition at the country show.

The controversy thickened as stories emerged that the council also recently accepted an A$12-million offer to expand coal terminals at its port, the world’s largest in terms of coal exports.

Amid jeers of hypocrisy and cheers of climate leadership, what can we really say about this policy move in one of New South Wales’ historic coal towns?

Investment, not divestment

The council’s unprecedented move to adopt an investment policy which applies traditional investment criteria but also adds a “preference for environmentally and socially responsible investment (if criteria are met)” might rate a media mention, given the recent fossil fuel divestment move by certain universities and governments.

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