This article discusses how investment firms are divesting themselves from fossil fuel companies. Insurance companies lead the sell-off of coal, oil and gas stocks over climate change and financial fears – oil majors now cite divestment as a risk to them.
The funds committed to fossil fuel divestment now total more than $6tn (£4.6tn), with almost 1,000 institutional investors having made the pledge, according to a new report.
The sell-off of coal, oil and gas investments is led by the insurance industry, with $3tn of funds. But it also now includes the first nation to divest, Ireland, major cities including New York and key medical organisations. Major oil companies such as Shell have this year cited divestment as a material risk to its business.
Fossil fuel divestment began on US university campuses in 2011 but now spans 37 nations around the world. Supporters of divestment say existing fossil fuel resources are already far greater than can be burned without causing catastrophic climate change and that exploring for and producing more fossil fuels is therefore morally wrong. They also say fossil fuel companies are risky investments as global action on emissions gets tougher.