It’s set to be the largest divestment from fossil fuels ever made. Just hours after a coalition of groups delivered nearly 50,000 signatures and a worldwide Twitterstorm to #DivestNorway, the Norwegian parliament last night issued a unanimous recommendation to divest its country’s sovereign wealth fund from the coal industry.
— 350 dot org (@350) May 27, 2015
The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global is not only the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund; it is also one of the top ten investors in the global coal industry. This recommendation asks the government to exclude companies deriving more than 30% of their revenues or their power production from coal. With all parties endorsing the recommendation, it’s widely expected to be formally adopted by parliamentary vote on June 5.
Norway’s coal exclusion criteria go further than French Insurer Axa‘s divestment commitment last week and set a new standard for investors worldwide that signals another death knell for the coal industry. Bill McKibben’s tweet as the news broke last night underscores the true significance of this move:
Norway's $900bn fund, that just divested from coal, is in fact the world's largest fund. Like, in the world. The whole planet. Earth.
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) May 27, 2015
“We expect that billions of euros will be withdrawn from the coal industry, when this happens. This is a huge win for the divestment movement and a real sign of hope that investment patterns can be changed” Truls Gulowsen from Greenpeace Norway.
But while this news will send shockwaves through the financial world and investment community, it’s also a huge victory for all the communities worldwide impacted daily by the activities of coal companies.
— 350 East Asia (@350EastAsia) May 28, 2015
We expect that Norway’s Pension Fund investments in companies like Germany’s RWE, China’s Shenhua, Duke Energy from the Unites States, Australia’s AGL Energy, Reliance Power from India, Japan’s Electric Power Development Corporation, Semirara Mining from the Philippines and Poland’s PGE will, for example, all be shed.
“Norwegian NGOs will not be alone, when they celebrate. There are broad popular resistance movements against the coal industry in all of these countries, and they are going to say: Thank you for divesting, Norway!” Heffa Schücking, from German environmental group urgewald.
This article was first published on Fossil Free and is reposted here with the author’s permission.
About the Author: Louise Hazan is a Digital Campaigner for 350.org based in Europe.