Nordic, UK pension funds commit $130 billion to fight climate change

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Birds fly over a closed steel factory where chimneys of another working factory are seen in the background, in Tangshan, Hebei province, China, February 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

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GLASGOW, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Nordic and British pension funds on Tuesday committed to invest $130 billion by 2030 to fight climate change, and report annually on the progress of their green investments.

Denmark said $75 billion of the funds were new commitments. The pledge, launched at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, included asset owners in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the United Kingdom, plus a fund from Greenland.

"Green transition requires massive investments. Governments have to do their part and commit to a new green future. But we also need private investors on board," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

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The group included some funds that have joined the growing number of money managers steering away from fossil fuels, amid increasing pressure for the financial sector to support urgent action to address climate change.

Among them were Nordic asset manager Storebrand, Norway’s largest private asset manager with $91 billion assets under management, which last year divested from companies including Chevron and ExxonMobil over their lobbying on climate, and Denmark’s ATP, which has pledged to stop putting money in external funds that hold fossil fuel investments.

Huge investments will be needed in low-carbon industries, transport, energy and farming to put the world on track to reach net zero C02 emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5C above preindustrial levels. Analysts at Bernstein estimate that $2-4 trillion must be invested each year to hit that goal.

The pension funds' investments would target areas including low-carbon energy infrastructure, green bonds and environmentally friendly investments in properties.

"The objective is to expedite developments that promote cleaner energy for use in transportation and business activities in Iceland," said Thorey S. Thordardottir, managing director of the Icelandic Pension Funds Association.

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Reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels, Katy Daigle and William James in Glasgow; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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