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Local fossil fuel divestment?

What is fossil fuel divestment? The opposite of fossil fuel investment. A topic for serious discussion and debate around the globe. And locally. HOT’s Zelly Restorick reports.

Some local people have taken the initiative to organise a gathering this Saturday to explore what could be done to support and ease any transition from fossil fuels to other sources of energy. You’re invited to join them and get involved. Here’s what they say:

“According to the current science, at least 80% of the world’s proven reserves of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) will need to remain in the ground if we are going to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius – the internationally agreed upper limit before ‘catastrophic’ climate change. Yet in 2012 alone the 200 largest listed fossil fuel (oil, coal & gas) companies spent $674 billion on developing new reserves.

“Across the world, people are taking action to get local councils, universities and other bodies to stop investing in these companies which are driving the world headlong into climate catastrophe. Join us in Hastings on Saturday 16 January 2016, 2–5pm, at the Friends Meeting House, South Terrace, Hastings, TN34 1SA to help work out how we can bring this movement to Hastings. (Facebook page for this event. More info: 07596 483 272.)

New research has recently revealed that East Sussex County Council has £172m invested in oil, gas and coal through the East Sussex Pension Fund (see map below). The investments, which make up 6.6% of the fund, include £4.3m in Exxon Mobil, a company notorious for funding climate denial, and £3.9m in Chevron, which is currently contesting a £6bn pollution judgment made against it in Ecuador.”

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Consequences and repercussions

Reading an article in The Guardian about stranded assets, it is clear that there are directly opposing opinions as to the future of fossil fuels. I’m aware that some people are specifically employed to deny the effects of climate change. I’m aware that some scientists around the world state that the tipping point has already been passed – and that others say there is still hope and time to take action. How much human behaviour is responsible for climate change is hotly debated, but it would seem that we are certainly significantly contributing, alongside other factors affecting the planet’s conditions. As individuals, we have a responsibility to change things and not just sit back and rely on world leaders to sort things out for us all.

What are the consequences if these fossil fuel resources have to stay in the ground, if it is simply too risky to remove them, in terms of planetary repercussions? If the current investors divest themselves of their fossil fuel connections, what would they want in exchange? How are they to satisfy the financial desires of their shareholders and pension fund owners? How do these individuals and organisations relinquish their dependency on fossil fuels? If ESCC raises income via investment in fossil fuels, but it’s considered a high-risk investment for the future, then how do they raise the funds they need to survive? Are there more ethical, sustainable investments?

It seems vital to explore and discover alternative solutions, not just wave angry fists at the decision-makers. We share the planet and we’re all involved in some way or another.

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ESCC fossil fuel investments

ESCC Fossil fuel investments

Fossil Free Hastings: Saturday 16 January, 2–5pm, at the Friends Meeting House, South Terrace, Hastings, TN34 1SA.

Other articles on climate change from NASA:

A Breathing Planet, Off Balance

As Earth Warms, NASA Targets ‘Other Half’ of Carbon, Climate Equation 

Study Shows Climate Change Rapidly Warming World’s Lakes.

From the BBC:

Fossil fuels: The ‘untouchable reserves’.

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Posted 14:24 Wednesday, Jan 13, 2016 In: Energy Wise

1 Comment

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  1. Jim

    We should be diverting the local investment into fossil fuels into direct investment in local energy production, especially wind and solar. This was Naomi Klein’s position.

    It would give us back control over our own energy supplies, and the resilience to deal with external shocks, like wars, environmental disasters, price gouging by corporations or foreign governments.

    Comment by Jim — Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 @ 12:07

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