Activist groups campaign against Australian supers’ fossil fuel holdings

first_imgTwo activist groups are upping the ante in their campaigns to force Australia’s largest super funds to totally divest from fossil fuels and other stocks whose activities they say are contributing to climate change.The two groups, Healthy Futures and Market Forces, have been conducting online campaigns to gather support from super fund members.Market Forces, which keeps tab on super funds and their fossil fuel investment, last week focussed on UniSuper, a A$85bn (€50.3bn) scheme with 450,000 members working in the higher education and research sector.Healthy Futures has its sights on six super funds, including AustralianSuper, HESTA, First State Super, QSuper, SA Super, GESB, the West Australian public sector super fund, and TasPlan, a small Tasmanian fund.Collectively, these super funds manage close to A$450bn.Market Forces was able to mobilise 10,000 UniSuper members to sign an open letter published in the Australian Financial Review last week. The letter called on the UniSuper board to divest from all companies that are actively undermining climate change action.“Specifically we demand the fund divest from the companies that are expanding the scale of the fossil fuel sector; and/or relying on scenarios incompatible with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement to justify their future business prospects,” the letter said.“We expect this action to be taken across the entire fund by the end of the financial year ending 30 June, 2020.” The letter added that, as the default superannuation fund for Australia’s academics, scientists, researchers and university employees, UniSuper should be leading investor action on climate change.“Instead, billions of dollars of members’ retirement savings are invested in companies whose operations and plans are completely incompatible with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement,” it said.When approached by IPE, UniSuper declined to comment.In a parallel campaign co-ordinated by Healthy Futures, more than 400 doctors and other health professionals have publicly called on HESTA to sell down shares in 19 fossil fuel producers.The activist group met with HESTA executives at its certified carbon emission-free head office in Melbourne last week to stress its points.It has stepped up its campaign in the wake of Australia’s recent bushfires, which aside from huge economic and financial losses, has caused health issues for many. Market Forces was able to mobilise 10,000 UniSuper members to sign an open letterSince 2015, a group of well-known medical professionals, students and other community workers has lobbied HESTA to pull out of companies with primary businesses in fossil fuel extraction, transportation or power generation.In an open letter to HESTA, Healthy Futures said it was “unconscionable” for the fund to continue to invest in fossil fuel companies, pointing to the health effects of air pollution, coal combustion and fracking for unconventional gas.“All fossil fuels, when burned, contribute to climate change, which has been identified as the greatest global health threat of our time,” the letter said.Sonya Sawtel-Rickson, HESTA CIO, told IPE: “Our best chance at managing the long-term financial risk of climate change is by using our influence to drive companies to better understand, manage and reduce their carbon emissions.“We believe that if all we do is simply sell these companies, it is very unlikely to change their behaviour and drive long-term climate action. Using the leverage ownership is more effective than divestment at achieving climate action and the transition to a low carbon future.”“We believe that if all we do is simply sell these companies, it is very unlikely to change their behaviour and drive long-term climate action”Sonya Sawtel-Rickson, HESTA CIOSawtel-Rickson said active ownership was producing significant results. For example, by co-operating with other investors, HESTA had successfully pushed for companies like BP to set emission-reduction targets and link these to executive pay.BP last month announced that it would aim to be net carbon neutral by 2050.“Divestment would mean we have no influence to encourage climate action, and would limit our ability to protect members’ investments,” Sawtel-Rickson added.HESTA is an active member of Climate Action 100+ global investor collaboration that engages with the world’s biggest emitters. In the Australian context, mining giants such as Rio Tinto and Glencore have signalled that they have taken significant steps regarding transition planning.Other initiatives by HESTA include seeking to explicitly link the pay of top executives of oil and gas companies to their performance on reducing carbon emissions.Along with other like-minded super funds, it has discussions with companies such as Woodside and Santos, urging them to follow the lead of international energy giants BP and Shell in directly tying executive remuneration to emission reductions.last_img read more

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One in five expect to rent for life

first_imgA fifth of Aussies and about the same of Queenslanders have given up on being able to buy a home.ONE in five Aussies believe they are locked out of the housing market and will be renting for life, new research out today warned.Research released by finder.com.au said “over three million renters believe they may be renting for the rest of their life”.It found about one in five was the ratio for Queensland too, which emerged with the highest percentage of people who’d consider never owning a home (22 per cent).The figure was 19 per cent in New South Wales, 18 per cent in Western Australia, 17 per cent in Victoria, and 13 per cent in both South Australia and Tasmania. NSW carpark costs same as QLD unit The six best Aussie suburbs to invest QLD’s cheapest growth suburbs The survey had asked 2,033 people “given the current housing affordability crisis, would you consider renting your whole life?”. More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus17 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market17 hours agoIt found 21 per cent of Queenslanders surveyed said they were renting but intended to buy property in future. That was the highest level returned across the states in that category, with the figure at 20 per cent for NSW, 19 per cent for Tasmania, and 18 per cent for WA. Dipping into the property market has become unachievable for many Australians after the past few years of price rises across the country.Surprisingly, Queensland had the lowest percentage of respondents who owned their own home (52 per cent), with South Australia the highest on that score at 68 per cent followed by Tasmania (66 per cent).Around 38 per cent of Aussies were currently renting, while 19 per cent were renting but intended to buy property “in the near future”. Five per cent of Queensland respondents were “rentvestors”, mirroring the national breakdown, compared to 6 per cent of Victorians, 4 per cent out of NSW and WA, 3 per cent in SA and 2 per cent in Tasmania. FOLLOW SOPHIE FOSTER ON FACEBOOKlast_img read more

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How neighboring states are continuing stay at home orders

first_imgAs we all await Governor Eric Holcomb’s answer today on how the State will move forward with the Stay at Home order, here is what our neighboring states are doing. Ohio Governor Dewine announced last evening that he is extending the stay at home order for his state through 11:59 p.m. May 29, with only certain businesses allowed to remain open. Governor DeWine announced health procedures that don’t require an overnight stay can begin again today along with dentist offices and veterinarian offices. On May 4, general office spaces, distribution centers, manufacturing centers, and construction can continue. On May 12, consumers, retail, and services can reopen.Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended her state’s stay-at-home order until May 15 last week.Governor J.B. Pritzker broke down changes coming to Illinois’ stay-at-home order beginning Friday. The amended order will continue until May 30, easing restrictions for some, but heightening them for others.  Starting today in Illinois retail stores can reopen by taking orders online and over the phone and offering pick-up and delivery. Greenhouses and garden centers will be opening with specified social distancing measures in place. Many of our state parks will be open, and many golf courses will open with strict social distancing measures in place. And elective surgeries that had been put off due to the crisis can now be scheduled in surgicenters and hospitals.    Governor Andy Beshear’s stay-at-home order is currently indefinite in Kentucky but on Wednesday, Governor Beshear said that as long as Kentucky keeps up the fight against the coronavirus with promising results, the following business sectors are in line to restart:May 11 – Manufacturing, construction, vehicle and vessel dealerships, professional services (at 50% of pre-outbreak capacity), horse racing (without spectators), pet grooming and boardingMay 20 – Retail, houses of worshipMay 25 – Social gatherings of no more than 10 people, barbers, salons, cosmetology businesses, and similar servicesGovernor Beshear said that a couple of industries and businesses are not quite ready to open, which include restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, campgrounds, youth sports, summer camps, daycares (except for essential health care workers), and public pools.last_img read more

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Limited-overs matches dominate India’s cramped home season

first_imgMUMBAI, India (Reuters) – Limited-overs cricket will return to dominate India’s home season as the country hosts Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka between late September and December.India are ranked number one in Tests by the International Cricket Council and last year played 13 of the long-format matches during a bumper home season against New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia.Virat Kohli’s men, who won all four Test series, also played eight ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals in the last home season.The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has, however, not finalised the dates of the matches due to logistical reasons.“The dates of the matches have deliberately not been frozen,” BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary told reporters.“The logistics must factor in local factors such as festivals because as you know Durga Puja being what it is in the whole of eastern India and not only in West Bengal and other public holidays and logistics of distance.”The team will play 11 one-day internationals, nine Twenty20 matches and three Tests.Steve Smith-led Australia, who are embroiled in a bitter dispute between their players’ union and their national board over a new pay deal, will be first to arrive in India.Australia, who lost a four-Test series 2-1 away to India in February-March, will play five ODIs and three T20 matches. New Zealand will then play three ODIs and three T20 internationals.Sri Lanka, who are currently hosting India, will then play a full series comprising three Tests, three ODIs and an identical number of T20 matches.Kolkata, Nagpur and Delhi have been marked down to host the three Tests against the South Asian neighbours.India are scheduled to travel to South Africa for a full tour after the completion of the matches against Sri Lanka.INDIA’s 2017-18 home seasonAustralia: 5 ODIs in Chennai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Indore and Kolkata; 3 T20Is in Hyderabad, Ranchi and GuwahatiNew Zealand: 3 ODIs in Pune, Mumbai and Kanpur; 3 T20Is in Delhi, Cuttack and RajkotSri Lanka: 3 Tests in Kolkata, Nagpur and Delhi; 3 ODIs in Dharamsala, Mohali and Vizag; 3 T20Is in Thiruvananthapuram, Indore and Mumbai.last_img read more

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Doha 2019: Day 3 – Five golds at stake as Ivory Coast’s Talou battles in women’s 100m final

first_imgDoha QATAR – After Saturday night’s electric races and 100m final events, we are back for an even more exciting day at the ongoing World IAAF Championships here. Five gold medals are on offer in women’s pole vault, men’s triple jump, 4x400m mixed relay, women’s 100m, women’s 20km walk on this, the third day of the Games. In the women’s pole vault final later today, contender Holly Bradshaw (Great Britain), who has been mentioned as a medal contender ever since her breakthrough in 2012, will be up for it. Remember, because of a nightmare run of injuries, it took her until last summer in Berlin to win a first outdoor major medal – European championship bronze. Bradshaw will need to be on top of her game as this is one of the most stacked fields in the schedule, with the reigning world, Olympic and European champion Katerina Stefanidi (Greece) the star name.America’s two-time Olympic and world champion Christian Taylor has long been expected to be the man to break Jonathan Edwards’ (Great Britain) world record of 18.29m in men’s triple jump. This year, however, has seen compatriot Will Claye move to third on the all-time list with a jump of 18.14m. Taylor has the opportunity to break a record that has stood for 24 years in today’s final.The mixed 4x400m relay final (a new event) will make its global debut in Doha before its Olympic bow at Tokyo 2020. It was introduced at senior level at the 2017 World Relays and involves teams of two men and two women running a leg each in any order.In the obvious highlight of the night, women’s 100m, triple European champion Dina Asher-Smith will attempt to claim a first individual global medal outdoors. Asher-Smith’s first World Championships medal was a relay bronze in 2013 when she was still just 17. Six years later, Asher-Smith will need to live with Jamaica’s Olympic champion Elaine Thompson and compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.  Two-time Olympic champion Fraser-Pryce took 2017 off to have her first child but has had an impressive return to form this summer – clocking 10.73sec, the same time with which she won World Championships gold in Berlin back in 2009. Thompson, who is equal fastest this season with Fraser-Pryce, will be looking to make it a world-Olympic double having triumphed in Rio.And defending champion Tori Bowie of the USA, and Ivory Coast’s Talou are two to watch as well in the quest to find the fastest woman in the world.Updates and reports are assured via Joy Sports on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages. The coverage of the 2019 IAAF Championships is sponsored by DBS Industries and Adonko Bitters.–last_img read more

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