December 3, 2014

Bill McKibben Responds to Norway Panel Rejecting Fossil Fuel Divestment co-founder Bill McKibben issued the following response to the news that a government appointed panel in Norway has recommended the country’s sovereign wealth fund engage with fossil fuel companies, rather than divest from them:
“We’ve watched with interest for the last two years as some of those who said they weren’t ready to divest have instead promised to ‘engage’ with the fossil fuel industry. So far that engagement has yielded ringing promises from the biggest oil companies that they will indeed dig up and burn all their reserves and look for more. The learning curve gets more obvious every day–and the conclusion of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, that this is an unreformable industry with whom we must break ties, seems more and more obvious.”
Today, is launching a Global Day of Divestment Action which will take place on February 13 and 14th around the world.
The Norwegian expert panel recommended the country’s sovereign wealth fund – also known as the oil fund – should add a new criterion to its investment guidelines: ‘contribution to climate change’.
But the report fell short of recommending divestment from fossil fuels in favor. Instead, the group proposed that the oil fund should become a more “active and engaged investor on climate matters” and exclude investments in companies that are “severely harmful to the climate” on a case-by-case basis.
The report is expected to be met with opposition in parliament. The majority of Parliamentarians – backed by public opinion in Norway – believe that coal must be banned from the oil fund’s investments.
A recent report by Framtiden, Greenpeace Nordic and Urgewald revealed that the oil fund’s investments in coal are much higher than previously acknowledged: NOK 82.2bn (€9.7bn) instead of the fund manager’s claim of just NOK 2.5bn.