Cutting fossil fuel emissions will help prevent further extreme flood and fire events in Australia, unlike the Directors of Whitehaven Coal and other mining companies, writes Kathryn Kelly for the Canberra Times.

The fires currently raging through Tasmania, Australia, have left properties and towns destroyed, amassing insurance losses of more than $50 million to date. The global insurance industry reports billions of dollars lost through extreme weather events each year and there are costs to governments too, as they have to cover those at-risk communities that are refused insurance cover. With climate change, this situation will only get worse.

The financial sector should not be immune from being held responsible for the consequences of its actions – but how many companies disclose the climate risk to which are they are exposed, and how many investors consider this risk for their clients? The chairman of the AODP says ‘the first survery of the world’s largest 1000 retirement funds’, insurance companies’ and sovereign wealth funds’ management of climate risks paints a disturbing overall picture of greenwash and reckless mismanagement’.

Carbon Tracker’s Unburnable Carbon report demonstrates that the behahaviour of companies on the financial markets is leading us towards potentially catastrophic climate change. This behaviour is being observed by those associated with fossil fuels in Australia. ANZ, the bank that is backing Whitehaven coal, one of the largest mining companies operating in Australia, is one of only four major banks not to sign up to the Equator Principles – a framework for managing environmental and social risk in project finance transactions.

Kathryn asks, how much more evidence do we need to make reducing fossil fuel emissions the highest priority for governments, fossil fuel mining companies and the investors that fuel them?

Read the full article for the Canberra Times here