Teenage cyclone survivor confronts bank boss



A schoolboy challenged a bank boss to do more about climate change.

Cyclone survivor Chris Black, 15, told National Australia Bank chief executive Ross McEwan on Tuesday to stop funding the climate crisis by funding coal, oil and gas companies.

“I want to understand why you refuse to stop financing fossil fuels,” he said, interrupting the AFR banking summit to deliver a letter to the bank’s boss.

“I think it’s ridiculous.”

NAB’s Mr McEwan said he understood the issues and encouraged Mr Black to look at the bank’s coal, oil and gas policies.

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“No, we are not funding new ones,” the banker said.

Australia’s big four banks – NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and ANZ – intend to phase out fossil fuel lending and have made clear commitments to fund a net-zero emissions economy, but not as quickly as critics have it. require.

Mr Black, active in the School Strike 4 Climate movement, said he survived the devastation of Kalbarri by Cyclone Seroja in WA last year.

He was one of four Australians to file a formal human rights complaint with the UN for reasons related to climate change.

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“I almost died last year in a freak cyclone. Every day I have to deal with climate anxiety,” he said.

“My school has been flooded twice this year and Lismore has been devastated.

“It is outrageous that our big banks continue to add fuel to the fire by financing new fossil fuel projects. Are they mad? Can’t they see what’s going on? »

The summit agenda includes sustainable finance and what banking could look like by 2025, as protesters outside demand-side banking fully align with net zero by 2050.

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Jann Gilbert, bushfire survivor and marine ecologist from Malacoota, said the banks are undermining emissions reduction efforts.

“Despite their so-called commitment to net zero 2050, banks are a big part of the problem,” she said.

“I want the big four banks to commit unqualifiedly to no longer fund fossil fuel projects.”

Campaigners outside have distributed a scorecard which they say shows major Australian banks are not in line with the International Energy Agency’s net zero by 2050 pathway for lending.



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