At a staggering $920 billion, Norway has the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, and Norwegian Prime Minister Erona Solberg has flagged that the country is planning to invest more of that national wealth in renewable energy, RenewEconomy has reported.
Norway’s immense sovereign wealth fund has largely been accrued from its fossil fuel industry. Oil was discovered in Norwegian waters in the late 1960s, and in 2011 the country was the eighth largest crude oil exporter in the world. It was also the world’s third largest natural gas exporter in the that year. However, Norway’s stated aim is now to use its massive sovereign wealth to help address climate change.
There is no word yet on just how much of its wealth fund Norway will allocate to renewable energy; that announcement will apparently be made by April 4. The Norwegian government has had independent experts assessing whether or not it should exit its coal, oil, and gas investments, which presently account for 10% of the fund’s value. Norway has previously decided to shift funds out of tobacco companies, nuclear weapons producers, and companies that are deemed to degrade the environment and human rights â€“ so switching out of fossil fuel investments is the next logical step.
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global owns 1.2% of the world’s listed stocks, and Storebrand, a Norwegian private pension fund, has already divested funds from numerous companies involved in tar sands and coal. It has obviously taken notice of, and acted on, the growing realisation that the majority of even the world’s currently known fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground, if we are to avoid runaway climate change.