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Norway’s Labour Party calls for ban on wealth fund coal financing

World Coal,

Norway’s opposition Labour Party is calling for the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, worth US$ 800 billion, to withdraw from investing in coal producers and financing coal-fired operations.

Labour Party spokesman Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement that Norway now has to decide whether it will continue investing pension funds into coal companies. “We now have much knowledge about how harmful combustion of coal and the production of electricity from coal is [to the] climate,” Støre explained. “For [those of] us who believe that humans are responsible for climate change, we must also look at how people can take responsibility for reducing emissions. To cut investments in coal is a measure that can help further.”

Norway’s oil-backed sovereign wealth fund is currently a major shareholder in some of the world’s largest coal miners, including global giants BHP Billiton, Vale and Anglo American, as well as China's top producer, China Shenhua.

The fund cannot invest in companies that produce nuclear weapons, landmines, cluster bombs, tobacco or firms involved in severe environmental damage, gross corruption, or systematic human rights violation.

Currently, the wealth fund has investments in coal and oil with emissions equivalent to more than 108 times the emissions of Norway.

Støre said that this move would be a natural follow-up of the agreement between Nordic countries and US President Barack Obama to cooperate on international climate negotiations and clean energy.

Norway’s finance ministry are yet to provide a comment, however will present a report on ethical investment by the fund on 11th November.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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