June 5, 2015 / 3:22 PM / 4 years ago

Norway parliament votes to cut coal investments

* Norway to sell shares in firms above 30 pct activity in coal

* Environmentalists hail vote, say could cover $8 bln

OSLO, June 5 (Reuters) - Norway’s parliament voted on Friday to reduce coal investments by its $880 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, in a decision hailed by environmentalists as a model to help slow climate change.

Under the unanimous deal, the fund will sell all shares in companies that get more than 30 percent of their turnover or activity from coal. The right-wing government and the fund itself will have to work out exact definitions.

Environmentalists hailed the vote, mainly targeting mining companies and power generators, which was expected after a bipartisan decision by a key parliamentary committee late last month.

“Norway’s decision to take a stand against coal is an example for other governments - and for investors - about shifting from polluting energy sources towards clean, renewable power,” said Kumi Naidoo, head of Greenpeace International.

The central bank, which manages the fund, has indicated it may have to sell shares worth up to 40 billion crowns ($5.04 billion) in up to 75 companies.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups estimated a higher total of 122 companies, with shares valued at 67.2 billion crowns ($8.46 billion).

Burning coal releases large amounts of greenhouse gases. Norway has had little debate about wider divestment from fossil fuels, a sensitive subject since the fund itself is built from Norway’s offshore oil and gas revenues.

Environmentalists predict sales in European and U.S. power companies including Duke Energy Corp, RWE AG, American Electric Power Co Inc and Dominion Resources Inc. ($1 = 7.9391 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting By Alister Doyle, editing by William Hardy)

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