Experiments with Truth: News

How Australian campaigners target fossil fuel companies

hoax media release, announcing a big Australian coal mine had lost critical funding, kicked off a busy year for anti-fossil fuel campaigners – and a challenging one for the companies that extract energy and their financial backers.

Shares in Whitehaven Coal, developer of the controversial Maules Creekmine in New South Wales, plunged 9% in just two minutes after the spoof circulated the market – slicing A$314m from its market capitalisation and A$67m from the stake of its biggest shareholder, mining magnate Nathan Tinkler.

Embossed with the ANZ logo, the press release included a fictional quote from the bank’s head of corporate responsibility, Toby Kent: “We want our customers to be assured that we will not be investing in coal projects that cause significant dislocation of farmers, unacceptable damage to the environment, or social conflict.”

ANZ Bank, the miner’s lender and one of Australia’s largest banks, scrambled to correct the hoax, perpetrated by anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan from Front Line Action on Coal, to draw attention to the loss of thousands of hectares of critically endangered forest and farmlands.

More Follow External Link to Oliver Wagg, The Guardian