Fossil Free UK - Local Government

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 yours did too!

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Campaigns (53)

  • Divest Waltham Forest
    Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has encountered. Warming in excess of 2°C will have catastrophic consequences for the whole planet [1]. If global warming is to be limited to 2°C, a level already considered dangerous, up to 80% of known carbon reserves must be left in the ground [2] The fossil fuel industry currently holds vast carbon reserves, which, if burnt, would result in emissions 5 times larger than what it is deemed to be safe [3]. All available evidence suggests that fossil fuel companies intend to burn the reserves within their control [4]. In addition, companies such as Shell are actively trying to discover new reserves, often in environmentally sensitive regions [5]. Research conducted by Carbon Tracker shows that there has been an over-valuation of fossil fuel reserves held by fossil fuel companies. 2/3 of these fossil fuels must remain in the ground if countries are to meet internationally agreed targets. These fossil fuels are, in effect, unburnable, so therefore worthless, which will lead to massive market losses. This is the “Carbon Bubble”. [6] Fossil fuel-free investments are now outperforming more conventional fossil fuel investments. According to recent reports, fossil fuel-free investments “earned an average return of 1.2% more a year over the last five years” [7] when compared with fossil fuel investments. Waltham Forest Council exists to serve the people of the borough, and it should therefore acknowledge the significant risks that fossil fuel investments pose to local residents' financial security and future quality of life. The council should therefore take a moral, political and economic stand by divesting its money from fossil fuel companies and choosing investments less at risk from climate change legislation and more compatible with the local community’s values. Waltham Forest Council should use its money to reinvest in, and support development of, solutions to climate change. As Waltham Forest Council wishes to maximise its return on investment, there are many ethical (and fossil fuel-free) investment options that provide excellent financial returns. Divesting its money away from fossil fuels would make a powerful statement that the fossil fuel industry is morally and economically unviable, and that the people of Waltham Forest wish to support an alternative, sustainable energy future. By divesting from fossil fuels, Waltham Forest will join public institutions such as the British Medical Association, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Bristol City Council, Oxford City Council, and the Universities of Bedfordshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, and Warwick in leading by example to help create a sustainable future for the citizens of Waltham Forest and beyond. [8] Let's make Waltham Forest fossil-fuel free, and together, we can send a signal that we are ready to shift to an economy powered by renewable energy. References: 1. http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/syr/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full.pdf 2. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html 3. http://www.carbontracker.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev2-1.pdf 4. http://www.carbontracker.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev2-1.pdf 5. http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/arctic/exploration-production.html 6. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/19/carbon-bubble-financial-crash-crisis & http://www.carbontracker.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev2-1.pdf 7. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/fossil-fuel-free-funds-out-performed-conventional-ones-analysis-shows 8. http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/
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  • Suffolk County Council: Divest from fossil fuel
    Suffolk County Council says it wants to be the “Greenest county” yet its latest pension fund figures (September 2015) showed it had £11 million worth of Shell shares – 5% of its total holding in UK shares. Campaign groups estimate that in 2014 it held in total £117 million worth of fossil fuel assets. [1] All local authorities in Suffolk contribute to this pension fund, including Ipswich Borough Council, Waveney District Council, Suffolk Coastal District Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Mid Suffolk District Council, Forest Heath District Council and Babergh District Council Investing in fossil fuel creates a risk both to members of the pension fund and to the planet. Respected financial analysts warn that fossil fuel companies are likely to be over-valued due to their reliance on reserves in the ground which will become worthless if carbon legislation comes into effect. [2] Only a fraction of fossil fuel companies' reserves may be extracted and burned whilst keeping within the 2°C climatic warming target agreed by the world's Governments at international climate negotiations. [3] Suffolk should sell its fossil fuel investments and follow the example of several other local authorities who have invested cash in local sustainable projects such renewable energy, energy efficiency or building much needed energy efficient social homes. This blog by Friends of the Earth Scotland gives some examples. http://www.blog.foe-scotland.org.uk/index.php/2015/06/6-local-governments/ This would provide local jobs, a stronger local economy and reliable long term, low risk returns for the pension fund. [1] http://gofossilfree.org/uk/pensions/ [2] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/apr/19/carbon-bubble-financial-crash-crisis [3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211
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  • Divest West Midlands Pension Fund From Fossil Fuels
    Climate change is already causing massive destruction around the world. For the sake of all of our futures, we need to move away from fossil fuels and begin the transition to a clean and just energy economy, now. 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. Fossil fuel companies are also 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 effect 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!
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  • Devon County Council - Divest from Fossil Fuels
    Pensions are about giving us a secure future. But our future security is fundamentally threatened by climate change. Our pension funds should not be invested in oil, gas and coal companies when we know we must leave 80% of all fossil fuels in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change. Our local authorities have a duty to look after the public good. Fossil fuels are in direct conflict with the public good: investing in them poses a risk both to pension members and to the planet. So the Councils of Devon should take a moral, political and economic stand against them by taking our money away from fossil fuel companies and putting it into investments that are less at risk from climate change legislation. Divestment from fossil fuels would make a powerful statement that the fossil fuel industry is morally and economically unviable, and that the people of Devon wish to support an alternative, sustainable energy future that will leave the planet in a shape that allows us, our children and grandchildren to live safely on it.
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  • STOP Kent County Council Investing in Dangerous Fossil Fuels
    Our local authority has a duty to look out for the public good. Fossil fuels are in direct conflict with the public good:investing in them poses a risk to both investors and the planet. Kent County Council has £267488689 invested in fossil fuels. No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than climate change. We are already seeing more extreme weather events around the world, people being forced to migrate due to flooding or crop failure, and spring flowers blooming in the UK in November! Over 97% of scientists now agree that climate change is fuelled by the burning of fossil fuels (1). This causes problems both worldwide and within Kent, where we will see increasing areas of low lying land become prone to flooding. Institutions around the world including local government, universities and churches are pulling out of fossil fuels investments and moving towards a cleaner energy future. (2). It's now time to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in a better future, Financial research has called into question the valuation of fossil fuel companies due to their reliance on reserves which would become unburnable if international carbon legislation comes into effect. Divestment from fossil fuels would minimise the council's exposure to the financial risk of the 'carbon bubble', whereby shareholders risk being left with 'stranded assets' (worthless fuels stocks that regulations will prevent from being burned.) Although KCC Statement of Investment Principles for the Superannuation Fund (3) states that 'the fund will not impose restrictions upon our external fund managers'....it later goes on to say that 'as a member of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change we will monitor developments on climate change and use the research undertaken to monitor and challenge our investment managers.' For the sake of future generations, the people of Kent and the whole planet, the time has now come to challenge these investment managers. 1.http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/may/16/climate-change-scienceofclimatechange 2.http://zerocarbonbritain.org/index.php/zcb-latest-report 3.http://www.kentpensionfund.co.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/32370/pension-fund-statement-of-investment-principles.pdf
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  • Divest Greenwich Council From Fossil Fuel Investments
    The Greenwich Pension Fund has around £17 million invested directly in fossil fuel companies and more invested indirectly (i.e. commingled) [1]. Such investments carry a high degree of risk on ethical, financial and scientific grounds and the Pension Fund’s investments therefore expose the people of Greenwich to those risks. Hundreds of institutions around the globe have already committed to divesting more than £31 billion from fossil fuel companies, and the Greenwich Pension Fund can add significantly to this movement [2]. If global warming is to be limited to 2°C, a level already considered dangerous, up to 80% of known carbon reserves must be left in the ground [3]. Available evidence indicates that fossil fuel companies intend to burn enough reserves to push global warming far above 2°C, as they insist even on searching for further reserves, often in the globe’s most ecologically sensitive areas [4]. 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded and the 20 hottest years have all occurred since 1981, bringing increases in extreme weather events, flooding, droughts and other calamities [5, 6]. Fossil fuel companies have also been actively disruptive to political efforts at limiting global warming through intensive political lobbying and the funding of disinformation campaigns [7]. If it is wrong to continue to wreck the Earth’s climate, then it follows that it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. There are also increasing indications that the profitability of the fossil fuel industry will decrease significantly in coming years. If action is taken to limit global warming and a large degree of carbon reserves are left in the ground, shares in fossil fuel companies will drop significantly in value [8]. As such, pension funds currently investing in fossil fuels risk exposure to this 'carbon bubble', while there is already evidence that fossil fuel-free portfolios are capable of out-performing those including fossil fuel investments [9]. For in depth analyses of these and related risks, see: http://gofossilfree.org/frequently-asked-questions/ http://www.carbontracker.org/ http://www.theguardian.com/environment/fossil-fuel-divestment References: [1] http://greenwich.greenparty.org.uk/news/council-fossil-fuel-divestment.html [2] http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/ [3] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html [4] http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/arctic/exploration-production.html [5] http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/global/201412 [6] http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/climate-change-impacts/ [7] http://www.fossilfreemit.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/FossilFreeMIT-Lobbying-Disinformation.pdf [8] http://www.carbontracker.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Unburnable-Carbon-Full-rev2-1.pdf [9] https://www.msci.com/resources/factsheets/index_fact_sheet/msci-acwi-ex-fossil-fuels-index-gbp-gross.pdf
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  • Divest Derbyshire
    1. Derbyshire County Council Pension Fund has £290 million invested in fossil fuel industries, including Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Rio Tinto. Fossil fuel industries make up nearly 6% of the pension fund. 2. The pension fund affects over 170 employers in Derbyshire including Derbyshire County Council, all the borough and District Councils in Derbyshire [1]; Derby City Council; Chesterfield College; Derby College; Derbyshire Fire Authority; Derbyshire Police Authority; Peak District National Park Authority; University of Derby and a large group of smaller employers. 3. 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are the primary cause of recent climate change, largely due to the release of greenhouse gases from the combustion of oil, coal and gas for heat and power. Climate change is happening now - we’re already experiencing global temperature rise, warming oceans, shrinking ice sheets and more frequent and intense extreme weather events. [2] Whole ecosystems are threatened, and people's lives are at risk due to flooding, food and water insecurity, creating climate change refugees. [3] 4. In order to stop the global climate warming by 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and avert global catastrophe, 80% of all known fossil fuels must stay in the ground. [4] By removing investments in fossil fuel companies Derbyshire County Council will be showing its commitment to creating a healthy, sustainable future for both the people of Derbyshire and the planet as a whole. 5. There is also a financial argument to divest from fossil fuels. The need and growing political pressure to leave as much of our fossil fuels in the ground make the risk of stranded assets (worthless fuel stocks that regulation will prevent from being burned) very real. [5] At the same time it is becoming more expensive both to find and to extract the remaining fuel deposits, while, renewable energy technology is becoming more efficient and less expensive. [6]. Both of these factors create risks for investors. People and institutions that own shares in fossil fuel companies will see the value of their investments decrease. [7,8] 6. Institutions across the world including churches and universities, the Environment Agency [9] as well as local authorities in the UK such as Bristol City Council and Oxford City Council have already committed to divest from fossil fuels. [10] Let's see Derbyshire join them in making this small but impactful commitment. This petition is supported by the following Derbyshire organisations (in alphabetical order): Amber Valley Against Fracking; Calow Against Gas Extraction (CAGE); Chesterfield and District TUC; Chesterfield Climate Alliance; Clay Cross Against Fracking; Creswell Against Fracking; Derby Climate Coalition; Eckington Against Fracking; Glossopdale Transition Initiative; Melbourne Area Transition; Sustainable Edale; Sustainable Hayfield; Transition Belper; Transition Buxton; Transition Chesterfield; Transition Hope Valley; Transition Matlock; Transition New Mills. Transition Wirksworth; University of Derby Students’ Union. Please let us know if you would like your group to be added to this list. A hard copy of this petition can be downloaded from www.transitionchesterfield.org/divest-derbyshire/ Notes [1] Amber Valley Borough Council; Bolsover District Council; Chesterfield Borough Council; Derby City Council; Derbyshire Dales District Council; Erewash Borough Council;; High Peak Borough Council; North East Derbyshire District Council; South Derbyshire District Council [2] http://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/ [3] www.unhcr.org/pages/49e4a5096.html [4] www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-30709211 [5] www.carbontracker.org/report/wasted-capital-and-stranded-assets/ [6] www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/ambroseevans_pritchard/10957292/Fossil-industry-is-the-subprime-danger-of-this-cycle.html [7] www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/03/bank-of-england-warns-of-financial-risk-from-fossil-fuel-investments [8] www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/12/millions-wiped-off-uk-local-government-pensions-due-to-coal-crash-analysis-shows [9] www.eapf.org.uk/en/news-feed [10] http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/
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  • Divest Camden
    We believe divestment from fossil fuels to be not only ethically and environmentally correct, but also financially prudent. We are very aware of the importance of and legal obligation to secure the highest possible returns, and believe divestment to provide this in the post Paris Climate Agreement world. The committment to maintaining global temperature rise well below 2 degrees, in line with the agreement, would see much of the current assetts of fossil fuel companies becoming stranded. This has been supported by various financial institutions, including the Bank of England. Camden Council has a proud history of divesting from the apartheid regime in South Africa, and considering the significant size of its fossil fuel investments (£50 million), could honour this heritage through securing a divestment committment that would resonate on a national scale.
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  • Fossil Free Cambridgeshire - Divest Now!
    By continuing to grant social legitimacy to the burning of fossil fuels, rather than investing in transitioning our energy systems to renewables, our councils are complicit in driving unprecedented climate change. The warming of our planet is harming people by the millions through the more frequent extreme weather events hitting communities across the world. Further, changes to the hydrological cycle and rising temperatures are already disrupting food production and water supplies. Scientists have recently estimated that fossil fuel reserves still in the ground are approximately three times the size of that which can be burnt to have a 50:50 chance of staying below the agreed target of 2 degrees C of global average warming. Therefore, actions to avert catastrophic climate change will soon deem investments in fossil fuel reserves ‘stranded assets’. This represents substantial risk for investors and pensioners. It is for these reasons that the fossil fuel divestment movement is the fastest growing divestment movement the world has ever seen. Its supporters range from Jim Yong Kim, head of the World Bank, to former archbishop Desmond Tutu. Institutions across the world are already committing to divestment including Oxford City Council, the British Medical Association and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. It is time for local councils in Cambridgeshire to do the same, to draw a line in the sand to commit to keeping public money out of fossil fuels and to instead start funding the transition to a better, more sustainable world.
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  • Warwickshire County Council: Divest From Fossil Fuels
    By continuing to grant social legitimacy to the burning of fossil fuels, our council is complicit in driving unprecedented climate change. The warming of our planet is harming people by the millions through the more frequent extreme weather events hitting communities across the world. We must do all we can to keep fossil fuels in the ground to avert runaway climate change and stop our climate warming above the 2 degrees C. We are already seeing the disastrous effects of climate change across the globe. Allowing companies to explore and drill for more fossil fuels like Fracking or drilling in the Arctic, can only lead to more damage to our climate and fragile eco-systems. Scientists have recently estimated that fossil fuel reserves still in the ground are approximately three times the size of that which can be burnt to have a 50:50 chance of staying below the agreed target of 2 degrees C of global average warming. Therefore, actions to avert catastrophic climate change will soon deem investments in fossil fuel reserves ‘stranded assets’. This represents substantial risk for investors and pensioners. It is for these reasons that the fossil fuel divestment movement is the fastest growing divestment movement the world has ever seen. Currently Warwickshire County Council has £88,368,000 invested in Fossil Fuel investments: £33,107,000 in direct investments including: 1 BP PLC ORD USD0.25 £9,815,000 2 BG GROUP PLC ORD GBP0.10 £7,322,000 3 RIO TINTO PLC £6,998,000 4 ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC B SHS £5,742,000 5 TULLOW OIL PLC ORD GBP0.10 £2,012,000 With a further £55,261,000.00 projected in indirect investments. Institutions across the world are already committing to divestment including: Oxford City Council, the British Medical Association, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Warwick University. PLEASE SIGN if you believe Warwickshire County Council should Divest from Fossil Fuels.
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