April 30, 2014

Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign Updates Its “Top 200” Target List

Fossil Free Indexes LLC releases “The Carbon Underground,” ranking the world’s top 200 public fossil fuel companies

  • Report identifies the top public coal, oil & gas companies globally based on potential climate impact of their reserves.

  • Research shows growing reserves and embedded emissions

  • Updated list supports fossil fuel divestment movement and new ESG index products.

New York — The fossil fuel divestment campaign now has an updated list of companies that it will be asking large investors, such as cities and universities, to sell off in order to help combat climate change.

This morning, Fossil Free Indexes LLC, a newly established ESG index and research company, announced the release of “The Carbon Underground” identifying the 100 largest public coal companies, and 100 largest public oil and gas companies based on the potential CO2 emissions embedded in their reported reserves. The company’s research reveals that proven reserves of the top 200 continue to grow and the estimated emissions of these reserves far exceed their allocated share of the carbon budget likely to limit global warming to 2°C.

“The fossil fuel industry has gone even more rogue since we launched the divestment campaign in 2012,” said Jay Carmona, Divestment Campaign Manager at 350.org. “Our carbon budget is shrinking, but fossil fuel companies keep loading more coal, oil and gas reserves onto the books. This is bad news for the economy and a catastrophe for the planet. Divestment makes more sense than ever.”

“Our ultimate goal is to provide low cost, broad market indexes that give every investor the opportunity to fight climate change and hedge against carbon bubble risk,” explained Stuart Braman, Fossil Free Indexes founder. “But we’re very pleased that this first step of releasing The Carbon Underground 200 provides concrete operational support to the growing divestment movement.”

“The Carbon Underground” provides an update to the top 200 list first published in 2011 by the Carbon Tracker Initiative in their seminal “Unburnable Carbon” report linking climate risk and investor risk.  In that report, Carbon Tracker concluded that reserves of the top 200 companies exceed their allotted budget through 2050 by 340%. Fossil Free Indexes’ new research, based on the 2014 IPCC scenarios and modeling, estimates the carbon content of the reserves reported by The Carbon Underground 200 to exceed their portion of the carbon budget by 400% providing further evidence of a carbon bubble and the potential for stranded assets.

“Moral arguments aside, investors are becoming increasingly aware of the financial risks associated with the carbon bubble and this list provides a clear guide to companies whose business propositions are most at risk,” said Blair Palese, the CEO of 350.org Australia, which is coordinating the divestment campaign there.  “The companies at the top of the list have been warned – we’re coming after you next.”

350.org adopted the Carbon Tracker list in 2012 and joined with other climate action groups to kick off the divestment movement urging universities and non-profits to divest fossil fuel holdings. From now on, “The Carbon Underground 200” and its successive updates will be used by 350.org in supporting the ongoing divestment campaign. A family of broad market fossil free indexes based on the list is currently under development.

Mark Campanale, Carbon Tracker’s Founder and Executive Director said, “We’re excited to see deeper and increasingly sophisticated analysis into the top 200 list from research and investment analysts. This new report maintains the focus on the potential risk of continuing to fund capital investment expenses directed toward reserve replenishment.”

The report is available for download on the company website at:  www.fossilfreeindexes.com.


About Fossil Free Indexes

Fossil Free Indexes was founded to provide benchmarks and strategies for ethical investing with an initial focus on broad market indexes ex-fossil fuels defined exactly in line with the divestment movement. It also provides associated data services, research and consultative services for portfolio carbon emissions evaluation.

About 350.org and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

350.org helped launch the fossil fuel divestment campaign immediately after the 2012 presidential election to weaken the power of the fossil fuel industry and help combat climate change. The divestment effort has now spread to over 500 universities, cities, states, religious institutions, and foundations around the world. Oxford University called it the fastest growing such effort in history and posed a “far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies.” More information, including a full list of institutions that have divested, is a available at: gofossilfree.org