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 (56)

  • Hertfordshire County Council: Divest from fossil fuels
    1. Hertfordshire County Council Pension Fund has around £140,000,000 invested in fossil fuel industries, including BG Group PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Rio Tinto PLC. 2. The pension fund affects over 180 employers in Hertfordshire including Hertfordshire County Council (including schools), North Herts District Council, Dacorum Borough Council, East Hertfordshire District Council, Hertsmere Borough Council. Broxbourne Borough Council, St Albans District Council, Stevenage Borough Council, Three Rivers District Council, Watford Borough Council and a range of community and voluntary groups. See here for list 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. Global warming is happening now - it is not a thing of the future; thanks to our appetite for fossil fuels we’ve already experienced a global temperature rise of about 1°C since the Industrial Revolution.[1] The effects of this rise in temperature are already being felt, causing more frequent and intense extreme weather events, including more tropical storms in some areas, but drought in others. Climatic changes and oceans becoming more acidic due to absorbing excess carbon dioxide present a real threat to whole ecosystems. It’s not just bad for the environment, it’s putting people's lives at risk too due to food and water insecurity and is creating climate change refugees.[2] 4. In order to stop the global climate warming by another 2 °C, 80% of all known fossil fuels must stay in the ground.[3] However, despite all the evidence showing that we need to transition to cleaner forms of energy, fossil fuel companies are continuing to extract dirty fossil fuels, and making huge profits in the process.[4] 5. Investments in fossil fuels are also risky. Recent fluctuations in oil prices means that divesting from fossil fuels would minimise the council's exposure to the financial risk of the 'carbon bubble', whereby companies risk being left with stranded assets (worthless fuel stocks that regulation will prevent from being burned). People and institutions that own shares in the companies will see the value of their investments decrease. (5) 6. By removing investments in these companies Hertfordshire County Council will be showing its commitment to creating a healthy, sustainable future for both the people of Hertfordshire and the planet as a whole. 7. Institutions across the world including churches and universities, 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. [6] Let's see Hertfordshire join them in making this small but impactful commitment. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
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    Created by Gwen Buck
  • 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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    Created by Susan Poupard
  • 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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    Created by Tabitha Spence Picture
  • Newham Council, Divest from Fossil Fuels
    The London Borough of Newham has multiple investments in the fossil fuel industry. Fossil fuels contribute to the rise of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Scientists agree that we must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in order to halt excessive global warming. Climate change has already resulted in more instances of extreme weather, rising sea levels and melting ice glaciers. The Paris Climate agreement of 2015 committed to keeping the global temperature increase to below 2 degrees celsius (above pre-industrial levels). In order to honour this agreement, we must move the flow of finance away from fossil fuel industries, one of the highest contributors of carbon emissions. Taking money out of these companies will make it much more difficult for them to continue damaging the environment.
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    Created by Louis Martin
  • 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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    Created by Will Roberts Picture
  • Divest Cornwall
    Watch this brilliant one and half minute film explaining the petition: Further background information: 195 nations have agreed (at COP21 in Paris, December 2015) that to increase global temperatures beyond 2 degrees celsius would be CATASTROPHIC. This means dramaticly cutting our our carbon emissions, and keeping most of the known fossil fuels in the ground - Watch this for the IMPERATIVENESS of the situation: "Do the Math" at bear, and this "Al Gore, Why I am optimistic about Climate Change" at for an injection of impetus! Quite apart from the moral imperative to look after the planet that is our home (and that of the children of all species - not just our own!) Fossil fuel investments are losing value, and, according to many analysts, are on the verge of haemoraging. The governor of the Bank Of England has suggested divesting from fossil fuels as a wise financial move, and the Rockefeller foundation - founded upon fossil fuels, recently announced that they are divesting. "The leading argument by financial analysts is that, with emerging regulation to curb global temperature increases and growing competition from low-carbon energy sources, there is a real risk of “stranded assets” and “unburnable carbon”. “Stranded assets“, as coined by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, refers to assets that lose their value or turn into liabilities before the end of their economic life cycle. Such an outcome is expected of much of the world’s fossil fuel reserves, a large percentage of which is said to be unburnable (over 80% of coal, 50% of gas and 30% of oil) if we are to stay within the 2°C globally agreed threshold." From: ______ To grasp the seriousness of the climate crisis, you just need to do a little maths: Fossil fuel corporations have 5 times more oil, coal and gas in known reserves than the most conservative climate scientists think is safe to burn. Therefore we have to keep at least 80% of their fossil fuels underground to keep the earth in anything resembling livable shape. Despite this fact, fossil fuel companies continue to explore for more fossil fuels because, with our current economic system, the amount of reserves they have determines their share value. This exploration is potentially devastating for the environments where it occurs - imagine the DeepWater Horizon disaster in the hostile and treacherous seas of the Arctic - a scenario the US government gives a 75% chance of occuring. or the total devastation of Canada's Tar sand fields in Lancashire... By selling off their shares in fossil fuel companies, large institutions, like Cornwall Council, can use their financial clout to prevent such exploration from occurring, and help to keep the "oil in the soil, and the coal in the hole" If you want more detail: at current levels of Carbon dioxide emission, we have less than 15 years before crossing a dangerous threshold (2 degree celsius rise in global temperature) that almost every government in the world has agreed would be unsafe. We humans have already raised the temperature .8°C with the carbon dioxide already emitted, and that has caused far more damage than most scientists expected. A third of summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic, and since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the climate dice are loaded for both devastating floods and drought. Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees. Computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 levels now, the temperature would still rise another 0.8 degrees above the 0.8 we’ve already warmed, which means that we’re already 3/4s of the way to the 2 degree limit. For much greater detail - see the film "Do the Math" at
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    Created by David SmartKnight
  • Wiltshire Council: divest from fossil fuel
    Wiltshire Pension Fund holds a total of £1.8 billion, of which – currently - £64 million (3.5 per cent) is invested in fossil fuel – oil, coal and gas companies. This percentage may rise and fall. Wiltshire Pension Fund operates on behalf of Wiltshire Council and a further 157 employer organisations. Investment in fossil fuel is bad news for two reasons. Firstly, experts (1) warn these investments could become 'stranded assets' and irrecoverable, when the market for fossil fuels begin to decline in the years ahead. All local authorities, including Wiltshire Council, have a duty to act in the public interest, and to take steps to reduce risk to public money. Secondly, fossil fuel investment is a matter of right or wrong. More than 80 per cent of the world’s known coal reserves need to stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change, recent research (2) has indicated. The scientific and political consensus is that we must not allow global warming to exceed two degrees. If all known reserves are used we will exceed this limit, and tip into runaway climate change. This means extreme weather events, sea-level rise, fires and floods. Local impacts of fossil fuel dependence The Environment Agency and Salisbury City Council are drawing up emergency plans to protect Salisbury from ‘freak floods’, noting that the city came within 1cm of a major flood last January (3). Extreme weather events will cause severe flooding in Salisbury, and knock-on effects across Wiltshire, due to, for example, impassable roads and damage to communications systems (4). A further direct impact of fossil fuel dependence is disease caused by air pollution from traffic emissions. Salisbury Clean Air Network reported in March 2015 that nitrogen dioxide was at illegal levels in ten out of 25 of SCAN’s samples. This was a higher and more widespread pollution level than Council findings. Government data (Public Health England, 2010) indicated that air pollution causes 28,000 excess deaths in the UK per annum. If it’s wrong to cause these harms, then it is wrong to profit from investing in what causes them. Wiltshire Pension Fund should sell its fossil fuel investments and Wiltshire Council should follow the example of several other local authorities who have invested in local sustainable projects such renewable energy, energy efficiency or building much needed energy-efficient social homes. References: 1. Unburnable Carbon – Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble? Carbon Tracker Initiative, March 2012 ‘No more than one-third of proven reserves of fossil fuels can be consumed prior to 2050 if the world is to achieve the 2 °C goal, unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is widely deployed.’ World Energy Outlook 2012, International Energy Agency ‘The issue of the bubble arises because the combined proven oil, gas and coal reserves currently on the books of fossil fuel companies (and governments in the case of NOCs) will produce far more than this amount of CO2 when consumed’, David Hone, Climate Change Advisor for Shell 3 May 2013 ‘We agree that burning all known reserves would probably cause global temperatures to rise by more than 2°C – and that addressing this issue will require the efforts of governments, industry and individuals. However, we believe that the unburnable carbon approach to assessing the impact of potential climate regulation on a company’s value oversimplifies the complexity of the issue and overstates the potential financial impact’ BP webpage on climate change, accessed 17 Oct 2015 2. The geographical distribution of fossil fuels unused when limiting global warming to 2 °C, McGlade, C, Ekins, P, Nature 517,187–190, 8 January 2015 3. Salisbury Journal, 1 October 2015. 4. Environment Agency advice to Salisbury City Councillors and volunteer Flood Wardens, 9 November 2015.
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    Created by Alison Craig
  • Divest Norfolk Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels
    There is strong evidence (1) that the impact on climate change of burning even the known reserves of fossil fuels will create an unsustainable environment for the generations to come, and untold suffering to countless living beings. This fact will impact negatively on the value of investments in the industries concerned with fossil fuel extraction. Using just the fossil fuel reserves listed on the world’s stock markets would be enough to take us beyond 2°C of global warming (2). This means that more than 80 per cent of the world's known coal reserves, 30 per cent of known oil and 50 per cent of gas reserves need to stay in the ground and drilling in the Arctic is out of the question if we're to stay below two degrees. Recent drops in the oil price add to the uncertainty surrounding fossil fuels and the financial viability of some extractions presenting opportunities to lessen our dependency on fossil fuels (3). In defiance of mainstream research evidence and international policy (4), fossil fuel companies continue to extract and burn as much carbon as possible to maximise their profits. Despite the very high probability of planetary disaster they show no intention of switching away from their core business model. Our local council has a responsibility to divest from an industry that’s destroying the very future for ourselves and for our children that personal investment in a pension seeks to enhance. Instead it should reinvest in solutions to climate change. We won’t see any political progress on climate change until we can weaken the power of the fossil fuel industry. Divestment for fossil fuel investments would also minimise the council's exposure to the financial risk of the 'carbon bubble', whereby shareholders risk being left with stranded assets (worthless fuel stocks that regulation will prevent from being burned). It is a paradox that pension funds providing income for the future should at the same time be investing in the fossil fuel industry which if left to its own devices will exploit more of the fossil fuel reserves than we can safely use! Institutions around the world including local government, universities and churches are pulling out of fossil fuel investments and moving towards a clean energy future (5) It's time to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy now for inescapable moral and economic reasons. Shareholders (including pension funds) have started to challenge Exxon, Shell and BP to show how their business model is compatible with a 2 degree temperature rise (6). Some argue that engaging with fossil fuel companies is a more effective tactic than divestment. But Jonathon Porritt, one of the UK’s most esteemed environmentalists who spent years working on sustainability projects with BP and Shell, earlier this year said engagement was now futile because “hydrocarbon supremacists” at the companies had successfully ousted reformers wanting to diversify into green energy. Divestment, therefore, seems to be an unavoidable step to halting the damage and suffering which will ensue unless timely action is taken. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Thanks to Holly from the campaign to divest Avon pension fund for letting us use their text.
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    Created by Matthew White Picture
  • Birmingham City Council, Divest From 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 both to investors and to the planet. Birmingham City Council 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 and more compatible with our values. Divestment from fossil fuels would make a powerful statement that the fossil fuel industry is morally and economically unviable, and that the people of Birmingham 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. Financial research has called into question the valuations of fossil fuel companies due to their reliance on reserves which may become unburnable if carbon legislation comes into effect.
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    Created by Birmingham Climate Justice
  • Berkshire Pension Fund: Divest from Fossil Fuels
    It is estimated that the Royal County of Berkshire Pension Fund has over 97 million pounds invested indirectly in fossil fuels. If fossil fuel companies extract and burn just 20% of the reserves they hold, this will cause catastrophic climate change (extreme weather, food shortages and conflict). The urgency of stopping climate change requires that we progressively stop burning fossil fuels now. It is irresponsible and immoral for public bodies and pension funds to invest in fossil fuel extraction companies and instead they should, where possible, direct investment into 'green energy' infrastructure.
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    Created by Rob White Picture