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The scene in Parliament Square on the occasion of the first strike by school students demanding action to combat global warming.

The scene in Parliament Square on the occasion of the first strike by school students demanding urgent action to combat global warming in February.

Schoolkids take note: schools help fund climate change!

As thousands of school students from across the UK prepare to take to the streets on Friday (15 March) to demand urgent action on climate change, Divest East Sussex has discovered that over 40 schools and sixth-form colleges in East Sussex are inadvertently funding global warming through their contributions to the East Sussex Pension Fund (ESPF). Nick Terdre reports.

According to data provided by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) in response to a Freedom of Information request from campaign group Divest East Sussex (DES), over 40 schools and sixth-form colleges are contributing at least £9.8 million a year to the local government pension scheme, East Sussex Pension Fund, which is estimated to have £150 million of local people’s pension monies invested in giant oil and gas companies like Exxon and BP.

The list of schools includes William Parker, Helenswood, Hastings Academy, St Leonards Academy and Sussex Coast College (now East Sussex Coast College Hastings). Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is the main driver of global warming, DES points out.

Campaigners calling on the council to ditch its investments in fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) have already received backing from four members of the fund – Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council and Brighton and Hove City Council – and are now urging schools and students to add their support.

Around the world over 1,000 institutions in 76 countries, managing assets worth more than $8 trillion, have made some form of divestment commitment since 2012.

”Local students are probably completely unaware that their schools are unwittingly contributing to climate change by investing, through their contributions to the East Sussex Pension Fund, in fossil fuel companies like Shell and Exxon,” said Divest East Sussex spokesperson Gabriel Carlyle.

“We urge local schools and their students to add their support to the call for the fund to ditch these dirty and financially risky investments.”

School students in Hastings and Brighton are expected to join in Friday’s strike.


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Posted 16:37 Wednesday, Mar 13, 2019 In: Campaigns

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