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Members of the public gather signatures for the Divest East Sussex petition in Hailsham during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017

Members of the public gather signatures for the Divest East Sussex petition in Hailsham during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017

Cross party statement on fossil fuel investment

A cross party statement calls on East Sussex County Council to stop investing in fossil fuels. As international climate talks start in Berlin, a new report shows that councils across the UK are investing more than £16 billion in companies like BP and Exxon.

Campaigners have released a statement signed by 24 local councillors from across East Sussex calling on East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to stop investing local people’s pensions in fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas). The statement, which has been signed by Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors, as well as by Independents, welcomes the ‘unanimous cross-party decision by Labour and Conservative Councillors on the Waltham Forest Pension Fund Committee to completely divest the £735 million Waltham Forest Pension Fund of its investments in fossil fuel industries’ and calls on ESCC to follow suit by ‘divest[ing] local people’s pensions from these dirty, damaging and financially risky industries.’

Signatories to the statement include Councillors on: Brighton & Hove City Council, Eastbourne Borough Council, Hailsham Town Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Lewes Town Council, Newhaven Town Council, Rother District Council, Seaford Town Council, Wealden District Council and Withyham Parish Council.

National data released today by 350.org, Friends of the Earth and Platform has revealed that local councils across the UK are currently investing an estimated £16 billion in fossil fuels through their management of local pension funds. The East Sussex Pension Fund – which is administered by the County Council and holds the pensions for a wide range of organisations from across East Sussex – is estimated to have at least £150m invested in fossil fuels. Three members of the Fund – Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council and Brighton and Hove City Council – have already passed motions calling on the Fund to divest from fossil fuels. The campaign to divest local council pensions has this year received backing from Unison and the TUC.

Gabriel Carlyle from Divest East Sussex said: “It’s terrible that East Sussex County Council continues to invest so significantly in such a financially risky and morally bankrupt industry as fossil fuels. Two years ago, our government agreed to the Paris Treaty – pledging that the UK, along with the rest of the world, would take real action to tackle climate change. The fact that our local council continues to invest in the companies responsible for the crisis flies in the face of this agreement, and of all the efforts being made locally to reduce emissions and combat climate change. We urge all East Sussex residents to support the call for fossil fuel divestment by adding their names to the Divest East Sussex petition“.

Ellen Gibson, Divestment Campaigner with 350.org added: ‘With hurricanes devastating the Caribbean, wildfires ravaging southern Europe and flooding and drought destroying lives across the world, the impacts of climate change are hitting hard. Despite this, UK councils are still plowing billions into companies like Exxon, Shell and BP who have spent decades fuelling the crisis, and profiting on its back. Climate change isn’t a problem for future generations – it’s happening now, and action has never been more urgent. Our councils, and all public institutions, must cut their ties with the fossil fuel companies responsible and divest.’

 

Posted 08:47 Friday, Nov 10, 2017 In: Campaigns


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