Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has announced it will divest from investments in coal, oil, and gas, following a one-and-a-half year citizen-led campaign.
The announcement was made by the City of Stockholm on Tuesday, declaring that Stockholm would withdraw investments in coal, oil, and gas companies, equating to approximately 30 million SEK ($3.5 million). The move comes off the back of one-and-a-half years of citizen-led campaigning, as well as the more recent global Break Free movement, the world’s largest civil disobedience movement in the history of the environmental movement.
In addition to withdrawing existing investment in fossil fuel companies, the City of Stockholm has also taken a stronger stance on future responsible investment in their investment policy.
“Stockholm’s decision to divest from companies driving the climate crisis demonstrates that it’s no longer morally acceptable to invest in or support business as usual for the fossil fuel industry,” said Andrew Maunder, a campaigner with Fossil Free Stockholm for divestment for over a year.
“This year has seen unparalleled climate action with thousands of people taking to the streets, joining civil disobedience to keep Vattenfall’s coal in the ground and making creative calls for divestment,” said Christian Tengblad, Swedish divestment organizer at 350.org. “As our capital city takes a stand against oil, coal, and gas, our national government needs to follow suit and take responsibility for its carbon reserves by making sure the state-owned lignite in Germany never gets burned.”
Of particular interest to Stockholm protesters is the work of Swedish power company Vattenfall. In May, 4,000 people obstructed one of Vattenfall’s lignite mines and power plants in Germany for a full 48 hours as part of the Break Free movement. Vattenfall is not unaware of calls to divest, and has already signed an agreement to sell its lignite operations to Czech energy company EPH.
“Stockholm’s political leaders clearly understand that averting the climate crisis means doing everything in their power to keep any more fossil fuels from being burnt,” Maunder continued. “We congratulate them on this historic decision and hope our national politicians are paying close attention, as they consider whether or not to keep Sweden’s own lignite reserves in Germany in the ground.”
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