Lending to coal power
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Coal-fired power is Australia’s single biggest direct contribution to carbon emissions. In addition to greenhouse gases, coal also releases sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate pollution and other harmful chemicals that pose threats to the environment and human health.
For a time, coal power generation was declining in Australia and national emissions were falling as a result. However, since the repeal of the carbon price in July 2014, energy produced by coal has risen from 73% to 74.7%, meaning that Australia is going backwards when it comes to tackling climate change and air pollution.
Top lenders to coal power in Australia 2008-2016
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For 45 days during February and March 2014, fires raged at the Hazelwood coal mine, which supplies the power station. The resulting pollution made the nearby town of Morwell home to extreme levels of toxic pollution – particulate pollution levels were measured at many times the level deemed acceptable by the World Health Organisation and Australian national guidelines.