An excavator mines brown coal in the Hambach mine near Kerpen, Germany, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. (Henning Kaiser/dpa via AP)
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The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund's proposal to ditch its oil and gas shares, though hugely symbolic in the battle against climate change, is unlikely to cause a rush to the exit by major investors in the sector in the short term. The move by the $1 trillion fund, the world's largest, rattled stock markets, exposing what is seen as one of the biggest threats to companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil and BP as the world shifts toward renewable energy such as wind and solar.But in the meantime, expectations of growing global demand for oil and gas for decades to come mean reliance on these companies is likely to continue.The European oil and gas index fell Friday to its lowest since late September, extending declines after the Norwegian fund's announcement.The top five publicly traded companies – Exxon, Chevron, Shell, BP and Total – together have a market value of over $1 trillion.Coal companies, on the other hand, have always been smaller.For now, there is no viable alternative to oil and gas to meet the world's demand, investors said.
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