OSLO: The Norwegian parliament is set to vote to ban its pension fund from investing in coal companies, a decision which will lead to the largest politically motivated withdrawal of funds from the fossil fuels sector.
The fund will be forbidden to invest in “mining companies and power producers for whom a significant part of their business relates to coal used for energy purposes”.
The parliament is expected to decide that ‘a significant part’ means having 30 percent or more of revenue from coal, and/or having 30 percent of activities in coal mining or power.
Norway’s finance minister estimated that between 50 to 75 companies that are currently being funded by the pension fund could fall under the criteria for the ban, and that an investment of 35-40 billion kroner (€4 -4.6 billion) is involved.
Greenpeace however estimated a far higher number and said 122 companies fall under the new criteria, worth 67.2 billion kroner (€7.7 billion).
The 6.9 trillion kroner (€791 billion) fund is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, and perhaps ironically is the result of Norway’s surplus income from another fossil fuel: oil.
All of Norway’s political parties had already agreed they would support the ban.
Investing in coal companies poses both a climate risk and a future economic risk”, the parties noted in a common statement last week.
This is a clear signal to those who use coal that they have to look at other forms of energy,” centre-right Norwegian MP Hans Olav Syversen told public broadcaster NRK.