OSLO: Norway’s $890 billion sovereign wealth fund, built on more than four decades of extracting crude from the North Sea, was ordered by lawmakers to limit holdings of companies that produce or burn coal. That could trigger at least $4.5 billion in divestments of stocks such as RWE AG and Duke Energy Corp.
While some say the environmentally friendly policy is a way to promote sales of Norwegian gas, the irony wasn’t lost on even supporters of the change.
“There’s this incredible logic that coal is the climate problem, and Norway is helping solve the world climate problem by producing gas that can replace coal in Europe and reduce emissions,” Rasmus Hansson, a lawmaker for the Green Party, said in a phone interview. “That logic has unbelievably been accepted by the Norwegian majority as credible — which it isn’t.”
The cognitive dissonance is on display in Stavanger, Norway’s oil capital. The local Scandic hotel, which charges around $200 a night, tells guests it runs on wind and hydropower. The view is of the North Sea, where Norway — a country that boasts the highest per capita income in Europe after Luxembourg — spends billions extracting its oil.