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Handing in the petition at Lewes

Handing in the petition at Lewes

ESCC debate on investment in fossil fuels

On Tuesday 15 October at County Hall in Lewes, East Sussex County Council is set to debate a petition [2] calling on the Council to stop funding climate change through its ongoing investments in fossil fuel (oil, coal & gas) companies. The debate will take place at the next Full Council meeting on 15 October – the same meeting at which the County Council is anticipated to declare a ‘climate emergency’ motion [3]. An update from Divest East Sussex.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently invests £145 million of the East Sussex Pension Fund in the giant oil and gas companies that are driving our current climate crisis – companies like Exxon, Shell and BP [4].

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that investors in these industries face ‘potentially huge’ losses from climate change action that could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas ‘literally unburnable’ [5]. According to one recent analysis: ‘Oil and gas companies risk wasting $2.2 trillion by 2030 if they base investment decisions on current emissions policies … instead of planning for continued momentum towards a low-carbon world and [the] ensuing reduced demand for fossil fuels.’ [6]

Hastings Borough Council, Wealden District Council, Eastbourne Borough Council, Rother District Council, Brighton and Hove City Council and Lewes District Council have already passed “climate emergency” motions. [7]

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: “If we really are facing a climate emergency then the first thing we need to do is to stop funding climate change – and that means not investing in the oil, coal and gas companies that are driving the current climate crisis. It would be sheer hypocrisy for East Sussex County Council to declare a climate emergency while continuing to invest in these companies.”

Gabriel Carlyle from Fossil Free Hastings added: “The Council’s current policy of ‘engaging’ with oil and gas companies isn’t working. Indeed, despite many years of such ‘engagement’ not a single major publicly listed oil company has re-aligned its business model with a 2ºC world [8], let alone a 1.5 ºC world. These investments are a disaster for the planet and bad for local pension fund members.”

References:

[1] https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-east-sussex-pension-fund-from-fossil-fuels
[2] https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/cross-party-climate-emergency-motion-set-for-county-hall-debate-1-9077587
[3] Response by the Chair of the Pension Committee to Frances Witt, 16 October 2018. https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/documents/b12581/Item%204%20-%20Questions%20from%20members%20of%20the%20public%2016th-Oct-2018%2010.00%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=9
[4] https://www.ft.com/content/622de3da-66e6-11e5-97d0-1456a776a4f5
[5] ‘Oil and gas companies approve $50 billion of major projects that undermine climate targets and risk shareholder returns’, Carbon Tracker, 5 September 2019. https://www.carbontracker.org/oil-and-gas-companies-approve-50-billion-of-major-projects-that-undermine-climate-targets-and-risk-shareholder-returns/
[6] https://seclimatealliance.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Progress-summary-latest.pdf https://www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk/news/environment/brighton-and-hove-councillors-unanimously-back-climate-emergency-petition-1-8793906 and https://www.bexhillobserver.net/news/rother-councillors-declare-climate-emergency-1-9077766
[7] ‘Carbon Performance Assessment in Oil and Gas: Discussion paper’, Transition Pathway Initiative, November 2018 http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/tpi/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Oil-and-gas-discussion-paper.pdf

Posted 09:40 Tuesday, Oct 8, 2019 In: Campaigns

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