Norway’s parliament has formally adopted legislation requiring its US$900-billion sovereign wealth fund to drop its investments in 122 companies around the world that devote more than 30% of their business to mining or burning coal, or have projects in development that would push them over that threshold.
The deadline for divestment is January 1, 2016.
“Svein Flaatten, of the governing Conservative party, said coal investments were both a global warming risk and financial risk,” The Guardian reports. “A global deal to cut carbon emissions at a crunch UN summit in December could leave some fossil fuel reserves unburnable and worthless.”
The biggest loser in Norway’s decision will be SSE, a UK utility in which the Norwegian Government Pension Fund (GPF) holds US$956 million in shares. Other notables are Germany’s E.ON at US$685 million and RWE at US$320 million, U.S.-based Duke Energy at US$434 million, and the UK’s Drax, the company behind a major coal-to-biomass power plant conversion.
Late last month, three European environmental groups accused GPF of “pretend divestment,” noting that the fund had dropped 15 coal stocks in 2014 but increased its overall coal holdings by three billion Norwegian kroner to NOK 85.8 billion (US$11billion/£7.3 billion).