Author : Adam Epstein
Norway, the nation with the largest sovereign
fund in the world, is withdrawing from
its investments in fossil fuels ( http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/
CMP=share_btn_tw ) . A number of universities,cities, and religious institutions ( http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/ ) have joined
the so-called “divestment” movement, but
Norway is the first nation to do so officially.
“It’s not the first time a country’s fund has sold
off companies,” Jamie Henn, co-founder of the
international climate-change advocacy
group 350.org ( http://350.org/ ) , told
Quartz. “But it’s definitely the first time they’ve
done so in the context of climate risk and
Norway is divesting from 32 coal companies,
most of which are linked to either high carbon
emissions or deforestation. It’s also pulling out
of investments in tar sands and cement. Moral
high ground aside, investing in these companies
—like the fossil fuels they generate—may be
unsustainable ( http://www.wsj.com/articles/
fossil-fuels-1416779351 ) . While Norway can
now boast that it has made a bold move toward
a cleaner planet, it has in the process also shed
assets that are inherently risky ( http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2014/03/10/why-it-makes-sense-
for-norway-to-sell-its-fossil-fuel-shares/ ) .
“Investors are seeing the writing on the wall,”
Henn says. “Norway isn’t alone in concluding
that the coal industry has a very precarious future.” He
pointed out that Goldman Sachs, for example,
last year pulled out of some of its coal
investment ( http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/
coal-export-proposals/ ) .
Still, a panel of experts ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/business/norways-pension-fund-is-advised-to-keep-fossil-fuel-shares.html?_r=0 ) had advised
Norway’s finance ministry to continue to invest
in fossil fuels. Norway appears to have
ignored that recommendation.
The irony, of course, is that Norway’s $850
billion fund was built ( http://qz.com/252753/norways-gargantuan-sovereign-wealth-fund-by-the-numbers/ ) from the country’s
management of its booming fossil fuel industry.
Oil and gas will remain a large part of Norway’s
economy despite the country’s decision to stop
being an outside investor in that sector.
Henn says that Norway’s move indicates a
fundamental shift is underway. “By the end of
the year, it’ll be clear that this industry doesn’t
have a place in the 21st century.”
Tagged: 350.org, clean energy, Climate change, climate change economy, climate change policy, coal, fossil fuels, Norway, norway economy, norwegian economy, norwegian sovereign fund, oil and gas norway, renewable energy, sovereign fund