Today’s news that the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth (oil) Fund has divested from a total of 22 companies, potentially totaling billions of dollars in assets, is a huge win for the rapidly growing divestment campaign and should be celebrated. In fact, in terms of amount of money it is likely the biggest divestment decision to date, so reason to be optimistic that this rapidly growing campaign is having a serious impact.
But once the celebrating is over, there’s no time to sit back. Now is the time to push. In the words of Naomi Klein, acclaimed author and journalist, regarding the implications of the falling oil price, “We’re in a much better situation to win but we need to understand that this is a window. This is the last moment to be complacent.”
This has been reiterated in recent publications by both the Economist and Deutsche Bank. The reality is that most of the carbon in our already proven reserves must stay in the ground and that legislation to ensure that this is the case is just around the corner. Now is the time to demand big changes.
The Norwegian oil fund still invests in well over 100 fossil fuel companies with assets totalling around $40bn, and total reserves representing well over 500gt CO2 if burnt. Enough to take the world soaring past a 2 degree target and any chance of stopping dangerous changes to the climate system.
“I see this as a “counter-move” from Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), the group that oversees investments by the fund, to the growing pressure from divestment, where they try to demonstrate to politicians that they can do OK without stricter political mandates,” suggests Truls Gulowsen, campaigner with Greenpeace Norway. “It is still up to Parliament to instruct the Fund to complete full fossil fuel divestment, as the Fund still has billions in coal, oil and tar sands investments. This decision is scheduled for May this year, so maximum pressure on Norway is needed.”
Global Divestment Day next week, 13 and 14 February comes at the perfect time to increase the pressure on institutions such as the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth fund to commit to full divest from fossil fuels.
Keep up the hard work. It’s paying off!