Activism Stops Mega Projects, Influences Finance
The various campaigns are having the intended effects. They are delaying or ending disputed projects, raising costs, and discouraging developers from pursuing new proposals. Protests also are beginning to influence decisions by the world’s finance institutions to stop investing in massive new resource-consuming energy projects. In April, Norway’s $US 825 billion Government Pension Fund, the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, announced that it had started to remove its investments from coal sector companies and projects.
The transfer of capital out of the energy sector, combined with fierce public resistance to big new fossil and hydro energy projects, is starting to close down expensive electrical generating equipment and strand natural resources from use. Earlier this year, for example, public pressure to reduce dangerous air pollution, and widespread worry about its limited water reserves, prompted China to curtail development of over 200 coal-fired power plants. China’s diminishing demand for coal resulted in lower prices and has been an important factor in causing an economic depression in the coal sector. Almost every major American coal producer is bankrupt and losses are in the tens of billions of dollars.