Green Cities

Standing for Clean Energy- Norway Divests from Coal

In the United States, approximately 20 percent of our energy consumption comes from coal.  Additionally, most of the coal burning energy is found in industries. Clearly, this statistic needs to be decreased, but how can the United States collectively show big business that we want to move towards clean and sustainable energy sources?  Norway sets a precedent and takes a step to stand against coal in a recent financial decision.

Norway has formally announced their decision to divest from any coal investments in their sovereign wealth fund.  But what does this mean exactly?  A sovereign wealth fund is any sort of investment that is held in a central bank, and Norway currently holds the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.  And Norway’s decision to divest from coal means that the country is planning to sell any investments that rely on coal.  Divestments normally take place when the investor does not agree with the investee’s decisions or practices.  Essentially, Norway is declaring that they are willing to lose money in the pursuit of clean and sustainable energy sources.  This also sends a message to any coal dependent industries that they should start transitioning to cleaner energy sources if they want to continue to receive investments.

Norway’s decision to divest their funds from coal could serve as a model for the United States and coal burning nations.

If the United States were to follow Norway’s decision, several companies would consider switching to different energy sources which would greatly decrease coal dependency.  Most importantly, Norway’s actions serve as a broader message to everyone.  If a business or company participates in unethical or immoral practices, we as consumers can simply stop supporting that organization.   Norway’s actions show that decisions have to be made in order to make progress and the decisions to move towards a cleaner earth and sustainable energy sources should be an easy one.

Maurita Obermiller, Intern