Divesting Fossil Fuels and Prisons

Eight months after becoming the first capital city to divest from coal, Oslo has announced it intends to divest its pension fund from all fossil fuels. According to Fossil Free Europe, the City of Oslo announced that it intends to divest its $9 billion pension fund from coal, oil, and gas companies.

Oslo’s city leaders stated that, “The time for climate action is now, and the new city government will address climate change both locally and globally. The reduction in pollution will make the city even better to live in, and ensure that we take our global responsibility.” Oslo’s announcement comes ahead of the UN climate negotiations in Paris to encourage other countries to push their own capitals to follow suit.

Go Fossil Free tracks institutional divestment – including the City of Christchurch, New Zealand, Fremantle and Moreland in Australia, and now Oslo in Norway, among more than 40 others – that have made such commitments. Go Fossil Free’s total figures currently have $2.6 trillion divested by 452 institutions worldwide. “We want to use our investments to promote more environmentally friendly energy and a more environmentally-friendly society,” said Oslo’s finance commissioner, Eirik Lae Solberg.

In related news, and according to CNN, Columbia University has divested from private prison companies following a student activist campaign. The decision means that the Ivy League school – with a $9 billion endowment — will sell its 220,000 shares in G4S, the world’s largest private security firm, as well its shares in the Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison company in the United States. In 2007, Farallon, a company managing part of Yale University’s endowment, also divested from the Corrections Corporation of America after a student expose and campaign.

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