The City of Oslo in Norway on Monday October 19, 2015 became the first capital city in the world to ban investments in fossil fuels, as it announced it would divest its $9 billion pension fund from coal, oil and gas companies.
The announcement follows a previous pledge in March to ban investment in coal.
Lan Marie Nguyen Berg of the Green Party in Oslo said: “We are very happy to announce that Oslo will take responsibility for the climate, both through our own policies and our investments. The time for climate action is now, and the new city government will address climate change both locally and globally. The reduction in pollution will make the city even better to live in, and ensure that we take our global responsibility.”
In June this year, the Norwegian Parliament also announced the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – worth $900 billion – would sell off over $8 billion in coal investments.
Oslo’s “brave decision” just weeks away from the UN climate talks in Paris has been welcomed by but national and international environmental groups.
Arild Hermstad of Norwegian environmental NGO Future in Our Hands said: “There’s a strong symbolism when the capital city of our oil producing nation says ‘no’ to investing in fossil fuels. It shows that fossil fuels are history, and that shifting away from them, and to renewables, is the future. We expect and we encourage other oil producing countries to follow suit.”
350.org Europe Team Leader Nicolò Wojewoda said: “Oslo sets an example for cities around the world and shows investors like the Norwegian pension fund that if you have committed to divest from coal, it’s time to take the jump to divest from all fossil fuels now. If you want to see climate action, you can’t continue investing in the coal, oil and gas companies that are ruining our climate.”
Oslo joins a growing movement of 45 cities around the world that have committed to ban investments in coal, oil and gas companies.
Last month, a study showed that to date more than 400 institutions and 2,000 individuals from across 43 countries, and managing more than $2.6 trillion have pledged to ditch their holdings in fossil fuels.
As it becomes clear that large swathes of known fossil fuels must be left in the ground if the world is going to limit global temperature rise below the internationally agreed danger threshold of 2C, more and more institutions are pulling their funds out of these risky, dirty energy companies, and shifting their investments into fueling a renewable energy future.
What began as half a dozen college campuses in 2011, has grown to a global movement that is reaching right to the heart of the financial sector.
And the pressure is now on other to follow Oslo’s suit as the fossil fuel divestment movement challenges more investors to commit to divest from fossil fuels in the lead-up to the climate negotiations in Paris.
Wojewoda said: “Through this win and strong campaigns in London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and many more cities, divestment is moving on to an even bigger stage – we hope that national governments in capital cities around the world will take notice, and start breaking their own links with the fossil fuel industry.”
By Tierney Smith, TckTckTck (in EcoWatch)