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China, India dominate coal ownership as some shun climate risks - report

Reuters  |  BONN, Germany 

BONN, (Reuters) - Investors in and increasingly dominate ownership of reserves amid campaigns for divestment in many rich nations to limit the risks from climate change, a study showed on Tuesday.

The report, by British-based research group InfluenceMap, identified thousands of shareholders in 117 listed companies producing 3 billion tonnes a year of thermal with 150 billion tonnes of reserves.

It said that ownership of thermal coal, used in power plants, was dominated by "strategic investors in and (governments, individuals, power companies, special purpose companies)."

Ownership had shifted towards Asia from Europe and North America in recent years, Dylan Tanner, executive director of InfluenceMap, told

"has been pushed into a corner, stigmatized by the divestment community ... the overwhelming majority is held by strategic investors who have an interest in using the asset - the power companies or governments," said Tanner.

Almost 200 governments pledged at a summit in Paris in 2015 to shift this century from fossil fuels towards renewable energies to curb climate change, and more than 500 major investors have pledged to limit investments.

and say they will need for decades to bolster economic growth even as they try to curb emissions blamed for warming the planet.

As part of the divestment in coal, Norway's sovereign wealth fund and California's CalPERS and CalSTRS pension funds, representing about $1.4 trillion in assets, had sharply cut their ownership of since 2010, the study said.

Some investors, however, now see opportunities in because U.S. President Donald Trump doubts climate change is man-made and wants to promote fossil fuels from the United States as a cheap source of energy.

Even before Trump's election, some mid-size U.S. and other asset managers "have been bulking up on in the last five years in anticipation of a resurgence of some of the remnants of the U.S. bankruptcies and growth in Asia," the study said.

The report said that if all the reserves identified in the report are consumed, it would release greenhouse gases equivalent to 45 percent of the gases needed to raise average surface temperatures above an agreed ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)