Investors in China and India increasingly dominate ownership of coal 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 tons a year of thermal coal with 150 billion tons of reserves.
It said that ownership of thermal coal, used in power plants, was dominated by “strategic investors in China and India (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 Reuters.
“Coal 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 coal investments.
China and India say they will need coal for decades to bolster economic growth even as they try to curb emissions blamed for warming the planet.