Fossil-Fuel Divestment Tops $3.4 Trillion Mark, Activists Say

  • As Paris climate talks start, figure jumps from $2.6 trillion
  • Insurer Allianz, Australian pension funds among latest to join

Fossil-Fuel Producers Suffer Market Climate Crisis

Insurers, cities and other investors controlling more than $3.4 trillion in assets have pledged to keep some or all of their money out of fossil-fuel companies -- a high-water mark for the divestment movement, according to climate-change advocates.

The number has swelled from the $2.6 trillion announced in September and the $50 billion committed just last year, in a sign of the growing political stigma associated with coal, oil and natural-gas producers, according to a statement from 350.org and Divest-Invest, two groups behind the divestment campaign.

The latest figures were announced on the third day of a United Nations conference in Paris where almost 200 nations are seeking a deal to reduce global-warming pollution. Emissions from fossil fuels are a key target, with governments at the talks pledging to reduce billions of dollars in subsidies for the industry and shift them to renewable energy.

“Investors are reading the writing on the wall and dramatically shifting capital away from fossil fuels,” the two groups said in the statement. Investors “hope that their actions can push governments to follow suit.”

Since the September report, the groups said, divestment pledges have come from investors including Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer; a $9 billion pension fund controlled by the city of Oslo; and Australian cities representing $4 billion in investments. Some are only partial commitments, covering a particular fuel such as coal or oil-sands, the groups said. More than 500 institutions in all have made divestment commitments, according to the statement.

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