The National Trust will sell all the fossil fuel assets it holds in its £1bn investments, saying it no longer wants to be invested in companies that are not doing their part to tackle climate change. The conservation group has around £45m invested in fossil fuel companies including BP, Shell and Total, and expects to have divested most of that in the next year, and entirely within three years."We "But three years on from the Paris climate deal, we are still not seeing evidence of fossil fuel companies putting enough capital in low carbon investments." The move will serve as a stinging criticism of companies such as Shell, which has touted the fact it spends up to $2bn of its annual $25bn capital investment on low carbon technology as a sign it is taking clean energy seriously. Vermeulen pointed to research that shows major oil companies are on average spending just one per cent of capital expenditure on low carbon investments. "If you're going to be a relevant player in 10 years time, it needs to be the other way around." He added that the charity still believed in shareholder engagement with companies. "We very strongly believe in engagement.
The Republic of Ireland will become the world's first country to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies, after a bill was passed with all-party support in the lower house of parliament. The state's €8bn national investment fund will be required to sell all investments in coal, oil, gas and peat "as soon as is practicable", which is expected to mean within five years. Norway's huge $1tn sovereign wealth fund has only partially divested from fossil fuels, targeting some coal companies, and is still considering its oil and gas holdings. The fossil fuel divestment movement has grown rapidly and trillions of dollars of investment funds have been divested, including large pension funds and insurers, cities such as New York, churches and universities. Supporters of divestment say existing fossil fuel resources are already far greater than can be burned without causing catastrophic climate change and that exploring and producing more fossil fuels is therefore morally wrong and economically risky.
Bank holdings in "extreme" fossil fuels skyrocketed globally to $115bn during Donald Trump's first year as US president, with holdings in tar sands oil more than doubling, a new report has found. A sharp flight from fossil fuels investments after the Paris agreement was reversed last year with a return to energy sources dubbed "extreme" because of their contribution to global emissions. This included an 11% hike in funding for carbon-heavy tar sands, as well as Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil and coal. US and Canadian banks led a race back into the unconventional energy sector following Trump's promise to withdraw from Paris, with JPMorgan Chase increasing its coal funding by a factor of 21, and quadrupling its tar sands assets. Chase's $5.6bn surge in tar sands holdings added to nearly $47bn of gains for the industry last year, according to the report by NGOs including BankTrack, the Sierra Club and Rainforest Action Network (RAN).
Managers of the £1.5tn invested in Britain'sworkplace pension schemes are to be given new powers to dump shares in oil, gas and coal companies in favour of long-term investment in green and "social impact" opportunities. Government proposals published on Monday are designed to give pension fund trustees more confidence to divest from environmentally damaging fossil fuels and put their cash in green alternatives if it meets their members' wishes. Until now many pension trustees have been hamstrung by fiduciary duties that they feel requires them to seek the best returns irrespective of the threat of climate change. The new rules, though couched in opaque legalese, are a coded go-ahead for pension funds to sell shares in fossil fuel companies if they believe that they could turn into "stranded assets". The term refers to companies' coal, oil and gas deposits that may not ever be monetised as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy.