Divest West Midlands (DWM) says: “Public money shouldn’t be funding an industry that undermines our future. Municipalities around the world have already committed to divest – it’s about time that ours did too!”

Wildfires ravaging the western United States, Bangladesh drowning and Siberia experiencing a 38C heat wave all show the destructive power of fossil fuels to destroy the stable climate system all humans depend on. Because climate change is already causing such massive destruction around the world, we need to move away from fossil fuels and begin the transition to a clean and just energy economy, now, for the sake of all of our futures.

Birmingham Council’s unanimous support

On Tuesday 11th July, 2017, Birmingham Council unanimously supported a motion to back the Local Government Pension Fund’s divestment from fossil fuels and to rule out new fossil fuel investments. It was proposed by Councillor Roger Harmer, Lib Dem Councillor for Acocks Green following calls from regional campaign group Divest West Midlands Pension Fund ( read on here).

Kay Edwards, co-ordinator of regional campaign group Divest WMPF commented:

“I am delighted to see Birmingham City Council councillors united in supporting divestment from fossil fuels today. If we are to save our environment for future generations it is vital that we leave most of our coal and oil resources in the ground. It therefore makes no sense for Birmingham’s pension funds to be investing in industries based on exploiting these resources. Instead we should be investing more in low carbon technologies, which enable us to live cleaner, healthier lives”.

See their video here

DWM wants West Midlands Pension Fund to freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies and divest from direct ownership and commingled funds that include fossil fuel, public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years – for example, their current holdings in Exxon Mobil, BP, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Peabody Energy.

Many of the fossil fuel companies that West Midlands Pension Fund invests in have a poor environmental record, including ExxonMobil. ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, spilled 11 million gallons of oil off the coast of Alaska and plans to drill in the Russian Arctic with Rosneft. BP, another West Midlands Pension Fund investment, was responsible for the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the Gulf of Mexico.

The value of WM Pension Fund will fall as demand for fossil fuels continues to slump

Fossil fuel companies are now highly overvalued due to the assumption that all of their reserves will be burnt. But as policy catches up to climate realities, this overvaluation means there’s a multi-trillion dollar “carbon bubble” that’s poised to burst. This will greatly affect the value of our pensions if West Midlands continues to invest in fossil fuels.

We know that 80% of current fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to prevent runaway climate change. We must act now!

To  read about similar campaigns in other areas  go to Fossil Free UK – Local Government.

To sign the petition set up by Kay Edwards, go to https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-west-midlands-pension-fund-from-fossil-fuels

Search engines will give news of the international campaigns for divestment from fossil fuels.

 

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