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Fossil fuel not the future

04 September 2015

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Calls for further divestment from fossil fuels came from environmental leaders at a conference on divestment in France.

The Paris Divestment Conference, hosted by climate change campaign organisation 350.org and the European Green Party, aimed to build on the growing momentum around divestment.

Reinhard Bütikofer, co-chair of the European Green Party, accused the European Commission of being left behind by the movement.

He said the European Parliament had already formed a cross-party group working on the carbon bubble and divestment, while the European Central Bank is looking into the risks of a carbon bubble.

He called for them not to "be behind the curve" and said: "There is no future for fossil fuels – or there is no future."

Other speakers at the conference included Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, Stephen Heintz, president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, environmental journalist and campaigner Nicolas Hulot, and Pascal Canfin - senior advisor on climate at the World Resources Institute.

The movement for divestment continues to gain support from institutions and governments worldwide, including the United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon and UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Norway's sovereign wealth fund recently removed four Asian companies from its investment portfolio for ethical reasons (PFI, 20 August).

The fund, officially known as the Government Pension Fund, is financed by profits, taxes and fees from Norway's offshore oil and gas sector and has divested from South Korean steelmaker Posco because of the damage caused to rainforests.

Executive director of 350.org May Boeve told the conference: "By shifting resources from the energy of the past to the 100% renewable energy of the future, institutions can model the type of action we need from countries at the UN climate change summit in November."

She added: "With our climate in crisis, divestment is a moral necessity."

First published 04.09.2015

Lindsay.sharman@wilmingtonplc.com