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BlackRock is the canary in the coalmine. Its decision to dump coal signals what’s next

TJ Ryan Foundation Research Associate, John Quiggin, writes in The Conversation (16.1.20) about the implications of the world's largest fund manager pledging to toughen its stance on climate change and reduce its investment exposure to thermal coal.

'The announcement by BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager, that it will dump more than half a billion dollars in thermal coal shares from all of its actively managed portfolios, might not seem like big news. Announcements of this kind have come out steadily over the past couple of years.

'Virtually all the major Australian and European banks and insurers, and many other global institutions, have already announced such policies.

'According to the Unfriend Coal Campaign, insurance companies have stopped covering roughly US$8.9 trillion of coal investments – more than one-third (37%) of the coal industry’s global assets, and stopped offering reinsurance to 46% of them.

'... The government’s case for doing nothing about climate change (other than cashing in on past efforts) has been premised on the "economy-wrecking" costs of serious action.

'But as investments associated with coal are increasingly seen as toxic, we run an increasing risk that inaction will cause greater damage.'

 

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