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Australian ‘Coal City’ Divests Fossil Fuel Stocks, Embraces Cleantech


Future generations may wonder what anyone ever meant by the phrase “taking coals to Newcastle,” after the Newcastle, Australia city council voted to divest its fossil fuel stocks.


“You can tell that coal is the past by asking any scientist with a working knowledge of the planet’s climate system,” writes 350.org founder Bill McKibben. “And you can tell that coal is history by talking to any financial analyst.” But “politics is a lagging indicator, always behind,” which is why Prime Minister Tony Abbott questioned the Newcastle vote, led by councillor Declan Clausen. “Why is a coal city saying no to coal investment?” Abbott asked.

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“There is an increasing group of start-ups in Newcastle that are looking at a clean-tech future,” and “we are embracing those opportunities,” Clausen explained. “The coal downturn has particularly affected the Hunter Valley. Cleantechs are going to be a significant employer moving forward. Council is being on the front foot about that.”