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Copenhagen’s Mayor Announces Plans to Divest City from Fossil Fuels

Denmark's capital will withdraw investment fund out of all holdings in coal, oil, and gas if proposal is approved

By Arthur Neslen

Copenhagen’s mayor has announced plans to divest the city’s 6.9 billion kroner (£700 million) investment fund of all holdings in coal, oil and gas.

If his proposal is approved at a finance committee meeting next Tuesday, as expected, the Danish capital will become the country’s first investment fund to sell its stocks and bonds in fossil fuels.

Photo of Tony WebsterPhoto by Alan HoppsIf the mayor’s plan is approved, the Danish capital will become the country’s first investment fund to sell its stocks and bonds in fossil fuels.

“Copenhagen is at the forefront of world cities in the green transition, and we are working hard to become the world’s first CO2 neutral capital in 2025. Therefore it seems totally wrong for the municipality to still be investing in oil, coal and gas. We must change that,” the city’s mayor, Frank Jensen, told the Danish newspaper, Information, which first reported the story.

“I think this move sits well with Copenhagen’s desire for a green profile for their city,” he added.

It is unclear exactly how much of the city’s money pot is currently tied up in equities and bonds in the dirty energy sector. 

A council spokesperson told the Guardian that no decision had yet been taken as to where exactly the withdrawn monies would be reinvested.

The divestment initiative began with a small leftwing party on the Copenhagen council, before being taken up by Jensen, a social democrat.

Last year, Oslo became the first capital city to divest from fossil fuels, when it ditched $7 million of coal investments, to join a growing movement of cities that have pledged to combat climate change. The world’s largest coal port, Newcastle in Australia, has also made a divestment commitment.

In a possible sign of Scandinavian rivalry, Jensen suggested that Copenhagen’s move might be more significant. “I am not aware of any other capitals, which have made decisions as clear as the one, we are making,” he said. “But I believe more will follow in the wake of the climate agreement in Paris. The development will be fast.”

Around 80 percent of the world’s known coal, 50 percent of its oil and 30 percent of its gas reserves will have to stay in the ground if dangerous global warming is to be avoided, climate scientists say.

The Guardian
The Guardian UK, one of Britain's top daily newspapers, provides coverage of international environmental issues. Earth Island Journal is a member of the Guardian's Environment News Network.

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