Fossil Free ACT

Volunteers from all parts of the Canberra community have come together to be part of this campaign and to call for leadership through investing in a safe climate for our city’s future.
calling on the ACT Government to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry


Canberrans call on ACT Government to Divest!

From 12:30pm on Thursday October 24, outside the Legislative Assembly, Civic Square. The Canberra arm of global climate network today launches its new Fossil Free ACT campaign, calling on the ACT Government to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. Fossil Free ACT joins the fast growing global divestment movement that has seen hundreds of local campaigns emerge around the world, and thousands of people taking action in their communities against the coal, oil and gas reserves that scientists say we cannot burn.

The ACT Government prides itself on ambitious climate change policies and invests in solar energy. Yet it also invests in the coal, oil and gas companies that are driving climate change, increasing the occurrence of extreme weather and resisting the transition to a low carbon economy. “It doesn’t matter how many solar panels we put up if we don’t leave most of the world’s coal, oil and gas unburned and in the ground,” said Fossil Free ACT spokesperson Josh Creaser. “Left unchallenged, the fossil fuel industry will churn through five times the emissions that will catapult the world past 2 degrees warming. The ACT Government has a financial and social responsibility to move its investments away from the fossil fuel industry, and we hope they will be a leader on this issue in Australia.”

American author and environmentalist Bill McKibben kick-started the Australian movement with his ‘Do The Maths’ tour, which attracted a sold-out audience at the ANU in June. His message was clear: the world must keep at least 80% of fossil fuel reserves in the ground, meaning fossil fuel companies are not socially or financially viable investments for the future. Volunteers from all parts of the Canberra community have come together to be part of this campaign, and to call for leadership through investing in a safe climate for our city’s future.

As we’ve seen with the Marriage Equality Bill, the ACT Government knows it takes leadership to make progress on difficult issues. Climate change is arguably the biggest issue of all that we face as a society, and the ACT Government must live up to its rhetoric. That is why our volunteer team of students, professionals and retirees have banded together to call on the government to join cities like San Francisco and Seattle and to live up to its ambitious sustainability policies by divesting from fossil fuels,” said Mr Creaser.

The divestment movement has spread at record speed, according to Oxford University research. It has grown faster than any previous divestment movement, and poses a major threat to the fossil fuel industry, particularly coal. There are hundreds of campaigns in local communities around the world, with 16 US cities already committed to divestment, including Seattle and San Francisco. Closer to home, the NSW/ACT Uniting Church has decided to divest from fossil fuels, and Fossil Free ANU has had recent success in pushing the ANU to implement a new policy on responsible investment. Canberra spokesperson: Josh Creaser, 0410 745 005

Other speakers:
Zac Hattfield-Dodds – Uniting Church
Gill King – Climate Action Canberra

Note: This descriptive text was copied from the Campaign's website. Some website links may no longer be active.

Campaign Details

Group Leading this Campaign: Australia

Campaign Target Type:

Who this Campaign is Targeting: ACT Government

Main Issue of the Campaign:

Campaign Ran From: 2014 to 2014

Campaign Outcome:

Outcome Evidence: As stated on their webpage 'Outcomes In 2014, the Estimates Committee of the Legislative Assembly recommended that the ACT Government research and publish the financial risks of its fossil fuel investments including modelling of what the ACT’s potential investments output could be post-divestment. At that time the Government only “noted” the recommendation. The divestment issue was also raised by the Conservation Council in the 2015 Estimates process. In response to questions, the Chief Minister said that he had a “gradual phase out plan”. He also said that “there is no need for a dramatic overnight divestment of anything in a particular sector” and that he was opposed to campaigns targeting particular companies. However, the report of the 2015 Estimates Committee recommended “That the ACT Government consider sensible and well-timed divestment of its holdings in fossil fuels” (Recommendation 61). Somewhat remarkably, this recommendation was supported by both Government and Opposition members of the Committee. Following this report, the Chief Minister, addressing the ACT ALP Conference, said “I can confirm today that my Government is taking ongoing action to further divest the ACT investment portfolio of high-carbon emitting companies and sectors”. Later, that Conference passed the following motion: The ACT Government refrain from new investments in fossil fuel companies in which it does not have a controlling interest (less than 50%) The ACT Government develops a plan to responsibly divest over a five year period from companies that are listed in the Carbon Underground Top 200 list published by Fossil Free Indexes The ACT Government makes public its plan to divest from fossil fuels. By the end of September 2015 the ACT Government had relinquished its shares in 11 of the top 100 coal companies and 19 of the top 100 oil and gas companies. Among the 30 companies divested were Anglo American, Glencore, Whitehaven Coal, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, GDF Suez and Total. Prior to this action, the in-scope companies held carbon reserves of 94 gigatons (Gt). By late 2016, this had fallen to 15 Gt. In an open letter to residents of the Kurrajong electorate in October 2016, the Chief Minister clarified that the scope of the divestment covered companies that have: large fossil fuel reserves, in order to reduce our risk of holding stranded assets caused by possible future regulations on carbon emissions; high carbon emissions, to reduce our exposure to large carbon emitters; a high carbon intensity of business operations, to reduce our exposure to large users of fossil fuels; and the mining of coal as their main business activity. The Fossil Free ACT Campaign will continue to monitor the ACT’s fossil fuel investments, and to publicise the results of that analysis.' (sourced 8/4/2023 from Wayback Machine

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Fossil Free ACT