Should Norway's pension fund divest from cars and motorways? / Columns / The Foreigner

Should Norway's pension fund divest from cars and motorways?. As the story goes, Norway is wealthy from oil and gas, using the money to ensure a rich future. Rather than spending all its petroleum income immediately, Norway has invested substantially. Its sovereign wealth fund sits at over US$900 billion. On a per capita basis, every citizen of Norway is easily a millionaire (in kroner)! Ethics are always debated, especially as it is amongst the most transparent sovereign wealth funds in the world. Also being the most affluent sovereign wealth fund in the world, it controls approximately 1.3% of the world's stock market.

oil, energy, cars, money, ethics, climate, investment



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Should Norway's pension fund divest from cars and motorways?

Published on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2017 at 15:09 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

As the story goes, Norway is wealthy from oil and gas, using the money to ensure a rich future.

Cars on a road
Cars on a road
Photo: Ilan Kelman


Rather than spending all its petroleum income immediately, Norway has invested substantially. Its sovereign wealth fund sits at over US$900 billion. On a per capita basis, every citizen of Norway is easily a millionaire (in kroner)!

Ethics are always debated, especially as it is amongst the most transparent sovereign wealth funds in the world. Also being the most affluent sovereign wealth fund in the world, it controls approximately 1.3% of the world's stock market.

This financial clout brings power. The fund is divesting from coal companies and some major greenhouse gas emitters.

It has been slower to tackle concerns about petroleum investments, including projects on indigenous lands to which indigenous peoples object. There is indeed an irony in suggesting that oil and gas money should consider divesting from oil and gas--but that's the point.

How many of the excluded greenhouse gas emitters use Norwegian fossil fuels? If some, then hypocrisy emerges. If none, then divestment could be self-serving. Ye cannae win.

The fund's mission is "to safeguard and build financial wealth for future generations". As a monetary fund, this makes sense. From a societal perspective, future generations deserve more wealth than financial.

Norway deserves kudos for future foresight and financial planning. It is an international role model for governments adopting long-term thinking.

Yet long-term thinking applies to the well-known environmental and social consequences of petroleum and of investment. "A rich future" is much more than simply money.

Ilan Kelman is a Reader in Risk, Resilience and Global Health at University College London.



Published on Tuesday, 2nd May, 2017 at 15:09 under the columns category, by Ilan Kelman.

This post has the following tags: oil, energy, cars, money, ethics, climate, investment.





  
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