Norwegian Parliament urges sovereign wealth fund to dump coal investment
Despite unanimous recommendation by the Finance Committee of the Parliament to divest from coal, the world’s richest sovereign wealth fund has increased investment in the sector, according to a new analysis.
The committee invited the government to exclude firms deriving more than 30% of their profit or their power production from coal. The new recommendations should be implemented from January 2016 onwards.
MP Torstein Tvedt Solberg from the Labor Party said, “I am pleased that all parties have agreed to withdraw the Pension Fund from coal. This is a great victory for our climate.”
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, the organisation spearheading the global fossil fuel divestment campaign says, “If you’d told any of us, three years ago, that the planet’s largest sovereign wealth fund would begin divesting, we would have laughed. The way this idea–that the world has far more fossil fuel than it can burn–has spread is an enormously hopeful sign. There’s much work to be done taking on coal, oil, and gas but the momentum is definitely on our side.”
However, despite the divestment pledge, the $850 billion (£554bn) sovereign wealth fund has increased its holdings by 3 billion Norwegian kroner to NOK 85.8 billion (£7.3bn) by the end of last year, according to a new report.
Environmental groups have said the fund is only ‘pretending’ to divest, but would instead look at moving the money from coal mining companies to those who burn it. Such claims have been dismissed by a fund’s spokesperson who said they are working with large mining companies for a transition towards a lower-carbon economy.
Recently, French insurance firm AXA announced it would pull £355 million out of the coal industry and triple green investment.
Photo: oatsy40 via flickr
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