Can you strike a blow against climate change by getting rid of your oil company stocks — and can you do it without losing money? The idea is not just for activists anymore. Norway took a partial step in selling off oil and gas stocks in its massive $1 trillion wealth fund. And a growing number of investors who control trillions more are using the threat of divestment as a cudgel to force energy companies to adopt greener ways. Together these approaches are producing a notable disruption in the energy field.

1. What’s the climate divestment movement about?

It was started in 2012 by the activist group, whose name is a reference to what some scientists consider the maximum safe level of atmospheric carbon in parts per million. Its goal is to “keep carbon in the ground,” in part by weakening the oil, gas and coal industries. Adopting a tactic from the fight in the 1970s and 80s to force South Africa to give up apartheid, it urges universities and other investors to divest themselves of stocks from the 100 largest coal companies and the 100 largest oil and gas firms.

The group has extracted pledges from some of the biggest companies, including BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and coal giant Glencore Plc, to better align their businesses with the goals of the Paris climate accord. Royal Dutch Shell also agreed to publish a report on its lobbying of governments.

One of Climate Action 100+’s largest members, Legal & General Investment Management, with about $1 trillion under management, divested its holdings in some large companies in June, saying they failed to engage over global warming.