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Move to ban Norway coal funding gains support

World Coal,

An opposition proposal to ban Norway’s US$ 815 billion wealth fund from investing in coal companies, has won the support of two minority parties whose backing the government needs.

The ‘oil fund’, which is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, is the sixth largest investor in BHP Billiton, and the ninth largest in Anglo American, two of the world’s coal mining giants.

The proposal by Norway’s opposition Labour Party calls on "the government to conduct a thorough investigation with a view to remove the fund's investments into coal companies".

Hans Olav Syversen, a finance spokesman for the Christian Democrats, told Reuters that the party supported the motion put forward by Labour. The Liberals, a small party concerned with the climate change, also said it sympathised with the motion.

"We want to have an assessment of the financial risk and the risk posed to climate change policy by the fund being so heavily exposed to fossil fuel firms," Terje Breivik, the Liberals' finance spokesman, told Reuters.

Next steps
The Norwegian parliament’s finance committee will conduct a hearing to gather views about the proposal. The chief executive of the oil fund, the governor of the central bank and representatives from several environmental groups will present their views at the hearing.

The finance committee will then discuss the motion and decide by 4th March 2014 whether to put it to a vote in parliament.

Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward

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