June 5, 2015

Climate expectations raised after Norwegian coal divestment

Below a statement from the coalition working on the Norway divestment campaign, what follows is a reaction by Nicolo Wojewoda, lead campaigner for 350.org’s European team:

“With Norway’s decision, coal divestment has gone mainstream highlighting both the moral imperative and financial case for divestment. Other institutions are left with no excuse to not follow suit. Coal is on its last leg; with king coal falling from its throne, we are all more inspired to go after big oil and gas.”


“Norway’s decision to divest its sovereign wealth fund from coal adds momentum to the growing global movement for climate action. This raises the bar for politicians to make further commitments – globally, as well as in Norway itself”, states a coalition of civil society organizations after a unanimous coal divestment vote by the Norwegian parliament today.

Today, on World Environment Day, Norway’s Parliament approved a decision to divest the country’s sovereign wealth fund from companies with more than 30% of their income from coal extraction or coal power. Norway’s fund is one of the world’s largest at over 900 bn USD. According to initial calculations from campaign group urgewald, the divestment decision will affect approximately 8,8 billion USD of the fund’s current investments.

A coalition of civil society organizations hailed the decision as a critical first step out of fossil fuels by one of the world’s most oil-dependent economies, and promised to continue campaigning for the fund’s full divestment from all fossil fuels as well as increased investments in renewable energy.

“Divestment from coal must be the first step for Norway, not the last. We will campaign for the fund to invest at least 5% of its value in renewables, particularly in emerging economies, and for full divestment from all fossil fuels. For Norway itself, our goal is a just transition out of oil and gas and into the green jobs of the future. We are rapidly approaching the time when no country can rely on fossil fuels for its economy or energy safety,” say Greenpeace, WWF, Future in Our Hands, urgewald and 350.org.

The fund’s Ethical Council and its manager, the Bank of Norway, will now be tasked with developing regulations to implement the divestment decision. “These regulations will be critical to ensuring rapid, transparent and comprehensive implementation of this historic decision. Other investors, and civil society, will be watching closely to see if Norway can match its bold decision with equally bold and decisive action,” say the civil society organizations.

Further reading: Analysis of the direct consequences of the divestment decision for the holdings of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund.