Divestment campaigners disappointed as world’s richest sovereign fund had earlier dumped coal companies.
The world’s richest sovereign wealth fund increased its stake in major oil and gas companies to £20bn in 2014, disappointing campaigners who argue it should continue to sell off its investments in the fossil fuels that drive climate change.
Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), which rose to £531bn in total, revealed in February that it had shed 32 coal mining companies due to concerns that action on global warming would cut their value.
Analysis by the green NGO Future In Our Hands of official data released on Friday shows the fund holds financial stakes in 90 of the top 100 oil and gas companies, as ranked by the amount of carbon in their reserves.
The fund, founded on the nation’s oil and gas wealth and which receives new capital each year, increased its ownership of 59 of the 90 companies. Despite the oil price crash leading to losses of over 10% on the fund’s oil and gas sector investments, the new stocks bought meant its overall holding in the 90 companies rose by £1.3bn.
The fund did sell off its shares in two Canadian tar sands companies – MEG Energy and Canada Oil Sands – together worth over £50m.
A series of analyses have shown that there are already several times more fossil fuels in proven reserves than can be burned if catastrophic global warming is to be avoided, as world leaders have pledged. Scientists say virtually all of Canada’s tar sands oil must stay in the ground, if climate change is to be tackled.
“Our pensions are increasingly being invested in oil and gas and this is a trend Norwegian politicians have a responsibility to stop,” said Arild Hermstad , head of Future In Our Hands. “The way the GPFG is behaving contradicts all established research on climate change.”