FTSE joins Blackrock to offer help investors avoid fossil fuels.

FT: “BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund manager, has teamed up with London’s FTSE Group to help investors avoid coal, oil and gas companies without putting their money at risk.”
“In a sign that a global campaign against fossil fuels is entering the financial mainstream, companies that extract or explore for such fuels are excluded from a new set of indices created by FTSE, a large provider of stock market indexes.
Several market benchmarks have already been developed to cover companies likely to profit from tougher environmental regulations, such as renewable energy or water management groups.
But the FTSE ones are believed to be the first from a leading index group that specifically bar fossil fuel companies.
A precise list of excluded companies has not been released but some of the best known names on the London Stock Exchange will be targeted, from oil and gas producer BP to coal miner BHP Billiton.
….This has prompted growing interest from investors keen to understand the risks of fossil fuel holdings, said Kevin Bourne, a FTSE managing director. “This is one of the fastest-moving debates I think I’ve seen in my 30 years in markets,” he said.
….“So far it’s been relatively niche players that have divested and that is why this launch is game-changing,” said Peter Lehner, NRDC executive director.
….‘Carbon bubble’ drives debate
When a small London think-tank named CarbonTracker started publishing reports on something it called the “carbon bubble” three years ago, few took too much notice.
Today, there is much debate about its idea that more than $670bn is invested annually in fossil fuel assets that could plummet in value if governments try to curb climate change. Many in the financial sector have started analysing it, including some fossil fuel companies themselves.
….So far, only a handful of smaller funds have taken the leap to sell out of fossil fuel holdings, but earlier this year, Norway decided to see if its mammoth oil fund should do so, a step that would transform the debate.”