Norway Backs Off Coal, a Big Climate-Changer
|January 29, 2014||Posted by Staff under Environmental|
A 2014 excerpt of Reuters, Jan 29.
Norway’s $US817 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has sold off half its stock in coal producers; most of its remaining interest is in Chinese companies.
Oslo has been at diplomatic loggerheads with China since the award of its Nobel Peace Prize to human rights activist Liu Xiaobo in 2010.
The fund is keen to expand its investments in China. Chinese authorities only allow the fund to invest $US1.5 billion there.
By the end of last year the fund held 2.5 billion crowns ($US405.57 million) in stocks in coal miners, equivalent to 0.08 percent of the fund’s portfolio.
By comparison it invested more than ten times as much, or 32 billion crowns, in green companies.
The fund prioritizes the risk posed by climate change as part of its strategy. Burning coal emits most of the carbon pollutants.
The fund is for ethical reasons banned from investing in certain sectors, such as tobacco, nuclear weapons, cluster bombs, or anti-personnel landmines.
The fund is invested in some 160 companies that use coal to generate power, such as French utility GdF Suez, and another 190 companies that use coal to produce steel.
The Norwegian government itself owns and operates a coal mine on the Arctic Svalbard islands, exporting the majority of its coal to Europe.
Norway’s parliament is studying a proposal to ban the fund from coal, which has the backing of a majority of parties, but not that of the minority government.
Ed. Notes: If Norway did not let its public fund control so much if its oil revenue but instead paid dividends to its citizens, a la Alaska, would the people themselves invest in coal?