The world’s leaders have promised to stop the climate changes. Nevertheless, all over the world a rapid growth in the extraction of carbon resources such as coal, oil and gas is taking place. No functional international climate agreements exist that limit the emission of CO2. There is nothing to prevent the world’s coal and oil companies from expanding production – which they are doing in full measure. The total impact of these oil and coal companies’ increased extraction constitutes the world’s biggest climate threat.
The coal companies will meet the increasing demand for energy with big new coal projects in China, Australia, Indonesia and the USA. The oil companies, for their part, are involved in a series of big new oil and gas projects in Iraq, in the Arctic, offshore Africa, in the Caspian Sea and in deep oil fields offshore Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico. There are also enormous unused carbon resources in shale gas in the USA and in tar sand in Canada and Venezuela.
The Future in Our Hands has investigated how the Pension Fund and Statoil have invested in 14 large scale extraction projects all over the world. The projects will contribute to continued growth in CO2 emissions and a unsustainable development which will set the course for a 5-6°C temperature increase.
Read the investigation pdf Norway Invests in the Future’s Biggest Climate Threats
Our investigation shows that the Government Pension Fund – Global has invested heavily in all the relevant projects. In our report, we identify 107 oil and coal companies that are in the process of increasing their production and thus jeopardizing the environmental goals. Altogether the Pension Fund has invested NOK 219 billion in these companies (36,5 mill USD). The Fund has bought more shares in 78 of the 107 companies in 2012, and the value increased by NOK 1.2 billion from 2011 to 2012 (200 mill USD). The increase is relatively low, due to the fact that the Fund’s portfolio had low growth in 2012. The Pension Fund’s growth in this field is taking place even though climate considerations are supposed to be one of the Fund’s CSR commitments. Statoil is an international oil company with high ambitions and presence in almost all the projects we analyze in this investigation.
These new extraction projects will supply the world with new fossil energy for several decades to come. The consequences are a prolongation of our dependence on fossil energy – and that we are unable to slow the climate changes.
The Norwegian government is the majority owner of Statoil and makes the guidelines for the Pension Fund. The government is in reality gambling with the possibility that the global 2°C goal, which Norway supports, will come to nothing. There is broad political agreement, both in Norway and internationally, that the global temperature increase must be kept at less than 2°C. Both the government and the opposition Conservative Party have stated that it is primarily the world’s coal production that must be reduced if we are to save the climate. But The Future in Our Hands’ examination shows that the Pension Fund also has ownership shares in companies that increase the coal production. There is a big gap between the government’s promises about the climate and what it does in practice.
During the past few years several participants, including the International Energy Agency, have pointed out that the world can only extract and consume a small part of the known reserves of oil, coal and gas. Somewhere between 66-80% of all known reserves must remain in the ground if we are to attain the international climate goals.
The Future in Our Hands has previously shown that the Pension Fund has invested in companies that own more carbon than can be extracted within the so-called 2°C goal.
This articles is translated. The original article is found here.