Two opinion pieces were released in the past 24 hours in Norway commenting on today’s vote in Norway’s parliament on a proposal for its sovereign wealth fund, the largest in the world, to invest directly in renewable energy and to end investments in coal.
Also being put to a vote today is the government’s original white paper on the Fund, which proposes to increase stock investments in renewable energy – though at a very small amount relative to what is needed in the face of climate change.The original white paper also proposes that an expert review committee look at the coal, oil and gas investments of the Fund.
The two opinion pieces draw out the financial implications behind the government’s current direction, and why upgrading the Fund to innovative investments in renewable energy would be a financially smart move:
We must remember that there are solutions, not only exclusions, which is the most interesting in the debate on sustainable investments.
We see that there is a broad political consensus that is supportive of investing in renewables, and we support this fully.
[Norway's Fund] is particularly well positioned for this, both because of the size of the fund, long-term perspective… When Parliament now considers these issues, we encourage them to think less about the exclusions and more about the quality of the investments.
Renewable energy is one of the areas that will get a bigger place in the future of asset management. And that is the future we must invest in when we choose what to invest in. Anything else would be anachronistic and quaint.
In rejecting the white paper, [Norway's] parliament must insist on [the Fund] divesting all fossil fuel investments to reduce Norway’s already excessive exposure to the future price of oil and gas.
The money from the sale of stakes in sunset industries ought to be diverted to the sunrise renewable energy sector that will also simultaneously help reduce portfolio risk for the Fund.
WWF now looks to Norway’s parliament to move forward in good time to present a solid mandate for its sovereign wealth fund to invest directly into renewable energy infrastructure. The political majority exists, and now political will is required.
The two articles (originally in Norwegian) are: