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June 5th, Divestment day for Norway

05 June 2015

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As fossil fuel divestment becomes one of the fastest campaigns of its kind in history the world's largest pension fund is set to divest from coal.

Norway becomes the leader in fossil fuel divestment breaking ground for other countries to follow suit with its largest pension fund expecting to drop investments in companies such as; Germany's RWE, China's Shenhua, Duke Energy from the Unites States, Australia's AGL Energy, Reliance Power from India, Japan's Electric Power Development Corporation, Semirara Mining from the Philippines and Poland's PGE, as reported in 350.org.

The finance committee of the Norwegian Parliament recommends that the government exclude companies deriving more than 30% of their revenues or their power production from coal, which is expected to be implemented from January 2016.

"The 30 percent level is a practical and sound approach that others around the world will be able to follow," says Truls Gulowsen of Greenpeace Norway. The EUR 900 billion Government Sovereign Wealth fund will no longer invest in firms where coal accounts for 30% of more of their turnover.

Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, the organisation spearheading the global fossil fuel divestment campaign says, "If you'd told any of us, three years ago, that the planet's largest sovereign wealth fund would begin divesting, we would have laughed.

63% of Norwegians are in favour of divesting from the coal industry altogether as showed in an opinion poll commissioned by Greenpeace in April 2015, The public's opinion is mirrored in the Norwegian Parliament, where 5 parties that together hold a majority, have stated their wish to pull the Pension Fund out of coal companies.

If the Parliament truly wants to shift investments away from coal, it needs to recognize that coal mining and coal burning are part of the same dirty, destructive industry," says Heffa Schücking, author of the report and director of Urgewald, a non-profit German organisation.

The Norwegian parliament are to meet on June 5th and are expected to formally adopt the Finance Committee's recommendation, the new limits on coal investments could take effect next January.

"We expect that billions of euros will be withdrawn from the coal industry when this happens," Gulowsen has said.

First published 05.06.2015

ceri.pugh@wilmingtonplc.com