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Wednesday 18 September 2019

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Norway expected to divest €5bn from coal

Written by Jack Gray
11/06/2019

Norway is expected to reduce government pension scheme investment in coal by €5bn when parliament votes on the proposal tomorrow (12 June).

The government is proposing to divest the funds from Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) as part of its initiative to reduce its investment in fossil fuels.

According to research by NGOs Urgewald and Framtiden i våre hender, the divestment will affect eight coal companies, including BHP Billiton and Anglo American PLC.

The NGOs have estimated that the action will reduce coal investment from the pension fund by €5.1bn, an increase on the €4bn divested from the fund in 2015 when the initiative was introduced.

Commenting on the announcement, Urgewald director, Heffa Schücking, said: “It is great to see Norway divesting some of the biggest enemies of the Paris Climate Agreement, and we are happy that the pension fund has now adopted two of the three coal exclusion criteria we put forward in 2015.”

However, Schücking highlighted that more needs to be done on excluding companies that are planning new coal infrastructure projects, such as plants and mines.

She continued: “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires a speedy exit from all coal investments, yet the GPFG is still invested in 18 companies planning new coal power plants.

“We would like to see the pension fund follow the example of Norway’s biggest private investment manager Storebrand and set a date for banning all coal investments.”

Framtiden i våre hender director, Anja Bakken Riise, added: “This is a timely update of the criteria and adjusts the policy to be in line with the intention from 2015 to be free from thermal coal.

“We believe however that the government should also say no to investing in companies planning increased coal power or mining production as we know that it is not compatible with our climate goals. It is a missed opportunity to adjust the coal criterion without including these.”

The companies predicted to be impacted are AGL Energy (Australia), Anglo American PLC (UK), BHP Billiton (Australia), Enel (Italy), Glencore (Switzerland), RWE (Germany), South32 (Australia) and Uniper (Germany).



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