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Fossil fuel divestment campaigners outside County Hall, Lewes on 8 February 2022. Photo: Katie Vandyck

26 Hastings’ election candidates sign Climate Pledge

Twenty six candidates for the 5 May local elections in Hastings & St Leonards have signed a pledge backing accelerated climate action, including divesting the East Sussex Pension Fund from fossil fuels. As of 10am on Monday 25 April, 26 candidates from Hastings & St Leonards had signed the ‘ABCD Climate Action Pledge’ created by the South East Climate Alliance (SECA): all of the Green candidates (16), seven Labour candidates, 2 Liberal Democrats and 1 Conservative [1].

 Divest East Sussex reports.

SECA is a coalition of over 100 environmental, community and faith groups from across Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey, and Kent. The SECA pledge commits signatories to: ‘Accelerate action to reflect the urgency of the crisis’; ‘Boost partnerships for action’; ‘Communicate on climate action’; and ‘Divest from fossil fuels’.

 A complete list of current signatories can be found here.

The East Sussex Pension Fund, which is administered by East Sussex County Council, currently has tens of millions of pounds of local people’s pension monies invested in the giant oil and gas companies, like Shell and BP, that are contributing to the climate crisis.

To date, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council, Brighton & Hove City Council, Bexhill Town Council, Peacehaven Town Council, UNISON, Maria Caulfield MP (Con, Lewes) and Caroline Lucas MP (Green, Brighton Pavilion) have all called on ESCC to stop investing in fossil fuels.

The Fund is likely to vote again on whether or not to commit to divestment at its meeting on 20 July.

Earlier this month, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, noted that: ‘We are on a pathway to global warming of more than double the 1.5-degree limit agreed in Paris. Some government and business leaders are saying one thing – but doing another. Simply put, they are lying. And the results will be catastrophic. This is a climate emergency. Climate scientists warn that we are already perilously close to tipping points that could lead to cascading and irreversible climate impacts. But high-emitting governments and corporations are not just turning a blind eye; they are adding fuel to the flames. They are choking our planet, based on their vested interests and historic investments in fossil fuels, when cheaper, renewable solutions provide green jobs, energy security, and greater price stability’.

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: ‘The latest UN climate report makes it clear that politics and fossil fuel interests are the only two real obstacles to addressing the climate crisis. 
The UK Government needs to stop granting new licenses for oil exploration and extraction. Instead, it’s just announced a new round of oil & gas licensing and a process to speed up the approval of new projects. Moreover, it won’t even impose a windfall tax on North Sea oil firms to help fund rocketing energy bills, pointing to pension funds’ investments in these companies as an excuse not to do so. By signing this pledge, candidates are making it clear that they intend to use their powers, if elected, on the side of science and climate action, not Big Oil.’

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Posted 13:48 Monday, Apr 25, 2022 In: Campaigns

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