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To the members of Parliament of Norway

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Larissa Waters 29 May 2015

To the members of the Parliament of Norway

We write to you today from a country across the globe already severely impacted by global warming, Australia.

We are 11 Federal Parliamentarians from the Australian Greens, with a keen interest in the health of our planet.

We understand that your Parliament will be holding an historic vote on June 5, looking to direct your country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund to move out of continued investment in the damaging power source of coal.

As you know, burning coal contributes massively to the ongoing changes and disruption to our global climate system.

Continuing to invest in coal also fails to recognise the signs that the coal industry is in the throes of a permanent, structural decline. 

We know first hand, that there are major limits on engagement with the coal industry, divestment is the logical approach to affect the kind of change required to rise to the immense climate challenge upon us.

It should be noted that an analyst from IEEFA said this week in Australia: “The whole engagement discussion relies on companies being open to taking a rational long term perspective of their fiduciary duties to shareholders. Coal mining companies have generally failed to deliver, and their shareholders have suffered serious, sustained wealth destruction as a result.” 

We have seen first hand the actions of coal companies here in Australia and across the region actively seek to destroy and dismantle practical and effective climate, energy and mining measures put in place by successive Governments.

Their influence on Australian politics has been dire. The Abbott Government has become the “wholly owned subsidiary of the coal industry” and acts to prop up coal at the expense of renewable energy at every opportunity. 

It is important to recognise that the actions of Norway, its people and its Parliament can have a profound impact on the lives and futures of people in Australia, a country on the front line of climate impacts.

The signal to the world that your wealth fund and your Parliament could send cannot be underestimated.

Continuing to invest in the last century technology of coal fired power generation will continue to have major negative impacts on the global climate and communities around the world.  

Our friends and neighbours in South East Asia and the Pacific Islands are keenly aware of what this damage and destruction from a changing climate and rising sea levels looks like, first hand.

The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund is only currently divesting a fraction of its coal portfolio but your Parliament has a unique opportunity to end these risky, dangerous and damaging investments. 

We urge you to consider these factors when thinking about how you will vote on June 5.

Norway’s investments in China’s coal cause 19 times more greenhouse gas emissions than the whole of Norway. Norway’s investments in US coal cause 15 times more carbon emissions than the whole of Norway.

Global thermal coal prices are facing collapse. The extent of the oversupply can be seen in the price collapse of the price of Newcastle thermal coal, the Australian coal used as a global benchmark.

The proposed coal port extension at Abbot Point in Australia with will have significant impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, described as “one of the jewels in the world heritage crown”. Furthermore, the coal in the Galilee Basin, if burned, would make the region if it was a separate country, the 7th biggest emitter in the world. 

While international outcry over the project has led banks to back away from financing it, the Norwegian Wealth Fund is still a shareholder in the companies involved. 

The decision you make in a few weeks can have a profound impact on the state of the world that we share, we urge you to think deeply about our future when you cast your vote.

Sincerely, 

Senator Larissa Waters, Senator Richard Di Natale and Senator Christine Milne 

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