The $870 billion Norwegian model
Posted December 1, 2014
Norway produces less oil than Alberta, but has more money to show for it. Meet the man behind Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.
Norway is known for several things, including its Viking roots, a singular obsession with cross-country skiing and an enormous sovereign wealth fund. Officially known as the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), it is currently valued at about $870 billion (U.S.). Funded by revenue generated from its offshore oil industry, the GPFG has amassed all of this wealth over the past 20 years. In comparison, Alberta’s Heritage Savings Trust Fund has around $15 billion (U.S.), despite having been set up decades earlier with the same purpose. Alberta has also produced significantly more oil than Norway during that time period.Continue Reading...
Posted November 13, 2014
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is teaming up with other pension funds to improve corporate governance.
The New York City comptroller may be the most overlooked elected official in the city. As the de-facto Chief Financial Officer for the city, the office is endowed with broad auditing and oversight power over New York’s $75 billion annual budget. Most importantly, it oversees five municipal public pension funds with over $160 billion in assets. Frustrated by poor corporate governance practices that prioritize short-term thinking over long-term value creation, current comptroller Scott Stringer is working to leverage the considerable shareholder clout of public pension plans around the country to enact meaningful change.Continue Reading...
Beyond the fringe: climate battles Down Under
Posted November 5, 2014
The unlikely tale of an Australian fringe party and the key role it’s playing in shaping Australian environmental policy.
It’s fair to say that Australia’s Prime Minister Toby Abbott is not terribly concerned about climate change.
In 2009, he rather infamously described the science outlining the impact of global warming as “crap.” And, as wildfires raged across the country last year, both Abbott and his environment minister curtly dismissed any connection between extreme weather patterns and global warming, despite contradictory evidence posted on its own environmental department website.Continue Reading...
The curious case of North Dakota
Posted October 29, 2014
Flooded with oil revenue, the state is faced with a number of enviable choices about what to do with its riches.
With an unemployment rate of less than three per cent, it’s safe to say that North Dakota is booming. The 2006 discovery of oil in the Bakken formation, combined with hydraulic fracturing technology used to extract “tight oil,” has catapulted the small state of 725,000 people into the ranks of major oil producer. In 2012, it passed Alaska to become the second largest oil-producing state in the country. This has resulted in billions of dollars in revenue for the state. So, what has North Dakota done with this new-found wealth?Continue Reading...
Defunding the EPA
Posted October 28, 2014
Republicans have a number of legislative tools at their disposal to try and crack down on the “job-killing” EPA.
Democratic hopes for maintaining control over the U.S. Senate are looking increasingly slim as most forecasters are projecting a two-seat majority for the Republicans come November 4. While this hold on the Senate is likely to be brief – 24 of the 34 incumbents up for re-election in 2016 are Republicans – it promises to be an eventful two years of pre-2016 election posturing. Beyond the spectre of continued skirmishes over Obamacare and yet another vote to increase the debt ceiling (steel yourself for June/July 2015) lies the Republican environmental agenda.Continue Reading...