Goldman Sachs abandons coal as investors look to low-emissions future

December 20, 2019, 7:00 pm | Admin

But outside the talks, investors are voting with their dollars as money flees fossil fuels and migrates to clean energy.

The policy shift at one of the world's biggest and most powerful investment banks is a sign of the times.

This week, Wall Street behemoth Goldman Sachs announced it had ruled out direct finance for new or expanding thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plant projects worldwide, as well as direct finance for new Arctic oil exploration and production.

The bank has also committed to phase out financing for significant thermal coal mining companies that do not have a diversification strategy.

It acknowledged that its policy "still lags behind its leading global competitors" and "remains far from alignment with what is needed to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius".

So significant is the shift in global financial markets, some believe the world is at a watershed moment.

"The world could well look back on 2019 as the tipping point," argues a new report released today by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

"[The moment] when global capital markets accepted the technology-driven inevitability [of a] crossover from polluting thermal coal and increased uptake of sustainable clean renewable energy."

The report's author, Tim Buckley, is also a former head of equities at Citigroup and senior executive at Macquarie Bank, with more than 30 years' experience in financial markets — and the numbers he has compiled tell a compelling story.

Coal shares burnt as renewables shine

Across the globe, the value of clean energy companies is soaring, while the stock of businesses that make their money from fossil fuel energy is in sharp decline.

The picture in Australia is stark.

Major listed coal companies have all "destroyed significant shareholder value over the year", the report notes, with Whitehaven Coal's shares down 37 per cent, Yancoal Australia down 18 per cent and New Hope Corp down 37 per cent.

This at a time when the wider Australian market posted a 20 per cent rise.

In the US, the situation for fossil fuel energy players is even more dire.

Last modified on December 20, 2019, 7:01 pm | 840