6 February 2015
Green Party request Shropshire Council to withdraw investments, including pension fund investments, from all fossil fuel companies*
Climate change is now a very serious global, national and local problem.It is real and it is happening now (Note 1).Nationally we are committed to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases (GHG) on a 1990 base by 2050.Progress towards this objective is painfully slow and it is unlikely to be achieved.
If we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change (severe weather, storms, floods, loss of life and economic losses) we have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least the UK target of 80% and, more importantly, do as much as possible to shift our economy and society so that emissions come down in step with improving quality of life and creating jobs.
Recent research has shown that most of the world’s fossil fuels (gas and oil) must stay in the ground if we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change (Note 2).
Shropshire Council is committed to reducing GHG emissions e.g. “we expect every decision-maker in Shropshire Council to integrate sustainability, environment and climate change considerations into strategic and day to day decision making processes” (Note 3).
Contrary to this commitment Shropshire Council is doing very little to deliver reductions in greenhouse gases.One of the ways in which it could deliver a substantial boost to the reduction target is by shifting investments from fossil-fuel enterprises to renewable companies. This sends a strong market signal about what needs to be done and provides the sound financial backing that is needed to make sure we follow global best practice and boost renewable energy (wind, wave power, tidal power and solar power).
There is now an opportunity to do this in “Global Divestment Day” (Note 4).
On the 13th and 14th February 2015 hundreds of organisations all over the world are calling for all those organisations currently investing in fossil fuel enterprises to move those investments to renewable energy and ethical investments.
We are calling on Shropshire Council to do two things. Firstly we want the Council to formally propose and support disinvestment in fossil fuels to its Pension Fund.Shropshire Council is the legal advisor to the pension fund and provides the chairman (Note 5). Secondly we want the
Council to use its £135 million reserves (Note 6) to invest in renewable energy (including solar panels on all council car parks) to generate both electricity and a rate of return in excess of the bank accounts currently housing this huge amount of money.
To assist Shropshire Council in making this decision to disinvest we would remind finance and investment officers that rates of return on renewable investments are often better than on fossil fuels, that renewables are largely risk free (no such thing as oil spills and nuclear catastrophes) and that the energy industry itself is disinvesting e.g. E-ON’s decision to “ditch investments in fossil fuels” (Note 7)
Supporting global divestment day Janet Helen Phillips, Green Party parliamentary candidate for the Ludlow constituency said:
“This is a truly global movement to deal with climate change for the benefit of all of us. The Green Party calls on Shropshire Council to take a strong ethical lead on climate change and actively encourage its pension fund to dump its unethical, damaging investments in fossil fuel enterprises.More importantly we want it to use its £135 million reserves currently languishing in banks thatinvest in fossil fuels, to support renewable energy in Shropshire.We want this Council to be part of the solution and not part of the problem”
*For further information please contact Janet Helen Phillips on 01588 680528 or John Whitelegg on 01694 722365*
Note 1 http://ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ar5/ar5_syr_headlines_en.pdf
Note 2 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211
Note 3 http://www.shropshire.gov.uk/media/177722/Sustainability-Environment-Climate-Change-Policy-2011.pdf
Note 4 http://gofossilfree.org/divestment-day/
Note 5 The Shropshire County Pension Fund has shareholdings in Royal Dutch Shell (£11.176 million)) and BP (£9.485 million) http://static.shropshire.gov.uk/temp/pensions/Annual-Report-2014.pdf The pension fund has 4 Shropshire Council committee members including its chair, Malcolm Pate, who is also Chairman of the Council
Note 6 Shropshire Council has £135 million languishing in reserves that could be put to good use in renewable energy investments http://shropshire.gov.uk/committee-services/documents/s5197/9A%20Appendix%20A%20Quarter%202%20201415.pdf
Note 7 http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2384209/eon-unveils-bold-plan-to-focus-on-renewables-and-ditch-fossil-fuels
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