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)

  • Divest Brent Council from Fossil Fuels
    We believe divestment from fossil fuels to be not only ethically and environmentally correct, but also financially prudent. Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has encountered. The 20 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1981 and 2016 was the hottest ever [1]. Higher average temperatures are directly linked to extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms. Scientists have unanimously concluded that these changes are a consequence of human activity, arising from the burning of fossil fuels [2]. Moreover, this activity has resulted in unprecedented levels of air pollution, now regarded as a major world killer [3]. In a speech at Lloyd’s of London in September 2015, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England said that by the time ‘climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late’. Carney warned investors that policies to address climate change ‘would render the vast majority of reserves ‘stranded’ – oil, gas and coal that will be literally unburnable’ [4]. In order to continue developing fossil fuel reserves – particularly in the difficult areas where the remaining reserves are located (including the Arctic, the mouth of the Amazon and tar sands in sensitive areas) the developing companies need investment – divestment is a way of cutting off the funds needed to carry out these damaging activities. It also sends a powerful signal to the companies and others that it is time to move away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy. References: [0] [1] [2] [3] [4]
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    Created by Simon Erskine Picture
  • Divest Scottish Borders Council From Fossil Fuels
    Over £23 million of the Scottish Borders Council pension fund is currently invested in Fossil Fuels. (Divest and Reinvest Scotland Report) We need our council to take an active role in protecting our environment and the health of our communities, investing in fossil fuels is out dated and contributes to continuing climate change. As well as contributing to the destruction of our planet these funds are now at risk as fossil fuels become a thing of the past - we need our council to secure these funds for their employees by investing in technologies of the future including renewable energy and investing in our communities.
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  • Worcestershire County Council Divest from Fossil Fuels
    It has been reported ( that the Worcestershire County Council Pension Fund has £197,423,000 (10.74% of its total pension fund) invested 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. Fossil fuel companies are 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 they are still invested in Fossil Fuels.
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  • Ask Hampshire County Council to stop investing in 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. Even President Obama has admitted that 'no challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate'. Over 97% of scientists now agree that climate change is fuelled by the burning of fossil fuels. This causes problems both worldwide and within Hampshire, 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. 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.)
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  • Divest Bexley Council from fossil fuels
    Bexley Council's huge investments in fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) are a matter of financial and ethical concern for everyone living in the borough of Bexley. Bexley Pension Fund is responsible for the incomes of Bexley pensioners and invests around £30m in fossil fuel companies including Glencore, Suncor and Tullow Oil. There is strong evidence that these investments in fossil fuel companies are highly risky in the short and long term. And in the event of their investments falling in value, the shortfall has to be paid for by council taxpayers. At the same time these fossil fuel investments are a direct contributor to damaging man-made climate change. This is of particular relevance to Bexley residents as the area will be severely affected by future flooding caused by climate change - a risk acknowledged by Bexley Council itself. This pointless gamble with our future is due to an unwillingness of the council's financial advisers, including UBS, to stray beyond the herdlike 'business as usual' thinking that led to the 2008 financial crash. It therefore makes financial and ethical sense to stop investing in these companies. We are concerned residents calling on Bexley Council to show leadership and commit to divesting from fossil fuels joining public institutions including Haringey Council, British Medical Association, Stanford University, Oxford City Council and Bristol City Council.
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  • Divest Highlands from Fossil Fuels
    Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity has encountered. Warming in excess of 2°C will have catastrophic consequences. In order to have a chance of staying below this maximum upper limit of warming 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must not be burnt. 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. All available evidence suggests that fossil fuel companies intend to burn the reserves within their control. In addition, companies such as Shell are actively trying to discover new reserves, often in environmentally sensitive regions. If it is wrong to damage the world we live in, then it is wrong to profit from that damage. Responsible investors should no longer be profiting from the destructive activities of these companies. The Highland Council are fully committed to both reducing the Highlands's contribution to climate change as well as safeguarding the Highlands against its impacts. In particular, they have developed Carbon Clever Highlands a Highland Council led initiative with a target of a carbon neutral Inverness in a low carbon Highlands by 2025. The Highland Council manages the pensions of its employees and needs to make sure these funds are transferred to investing in low carbon options rather than fossil fuels. Recent financial studies have shown that divestment from fossil fuels may have a small positive effect on investment portfolios in the short term. Moreover, in the long term these fossil fuel investments will become increasingly risky as the cost of extraction increases and international treaties restrict the use of fossil fuels. Not only does it make moral sense not to invest in the destruction of our planet, it also makes financial sense. It is illogical to allow pension funds to endanger those whose futures they seek to protect. Recent publications have highlighted the real dangers posed to Highlands from climate change, including an increased risk of flooding and storm damage. Continuing to invest in the fossil fuel industry contradicts the commitments of the Highland Council By divesting from fossil fuels, the Highland Council will join public institutions such as the British Medical Association, Glasgow University and Oxford City Council, amongst many others, in leading by example to help create a sustainable future it's citizens. So we ask: 1. The Highland Council to make a public statement supporting the principle of divestment and to commit to avoid investment in any bonds, stock or shares connected to fossil fuels. 2. The Highland Council to review their pension fund investments and - Immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, including those made by externally managed and pooled funds. - Offer a fossil free pension option to employees - Divest from the top 200 companies with the largest known carbon reserves (oil, gas and coal), and shift these funds to lower risk, ethical investments within 5 years 3. The Highland Council must be transparent about its relationship with the fossil fuel industry: - Publish full details of their financial and other ties to the fossil fuel industry - Not accept sponsorship and advertising from fossil fuel companies. - Declare their divestment from the fossil fuel industry in order to encourage other pension funds, institutions and individuals to do the same. 4. The Highland Council must do the above in a timely manner - By setting up a working group to report back on a strategy within three months from the submission of this petition
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  • DIVEST Lincolnshire County Council Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels
    Lincolnshire - on the front line of global warming. Climate Change has caused, and is predicted to cause, a much greater risk of flooding and extreme weather but Lincolnshire is uniquely vulnerable to rising sea level. The Council recognises the potential impacts of global warming yet its pension fund invests over £100,000,000 in the very fossil fuel companies that are causing climate change. About 7% of the County’s pension fund, is invested in causing the problem. Most of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves must remain in the ground, unburnt if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming. As governments begin to regulate more closely, policy changes and oversupply of fossil fuels globally will see the value of carbon plummet, reserves will become stranded assets; their share prices will collapse. This makes investing in fossil fuels increasingly risky for all stakeholders. Financial experts, including the Bank of England, Goldman Sachs, Standard and Poor's and AXA, have warned of the economic risk that climate change policies pose to fossil fuel companies. Lincolnshire County Council needs to be ahead of the curve by divesting quickly to safeguard the future pensions of all its shareholders. Lincolnshire County Council recognises that it must do whatever it can to tackle climate change and it has a responsibility to divest from an industry that jeopardises the future of our planet. Yet the short term financial gain that the Pension Fund Committee hopes to achieve comes at the risk of financial loss as well as a cost to people and planet. We hope Lincolnshire County Council pension trustees are aware of September’s UNEP Finance Initiative Report, Fiduciary Duty in the 21st Century – which concludes that: "Failing to consider long-term investment value drivers, which include environmental, social and governance issues, in investment practice is a failure of fiduciary duty.” Instead of fossil fuel investment, the Pension Fund Committee should invest in solutions to climate change, investments that protect pensions and planet, joining The British Medical Association, Bristol City Council and Oxford City Council who have all recently agreed to make the commitment to no direct investment in the fossil fuel industry. Globally Lincolnshire County Council would join over 400 institutions and 2000 individuals with an asset base of $2.6 trillion who are already divesting across the world. --ENDS-- Please sign the petition and encourage others to do so. For data on Local Authority pension fund investment in fossil fuels see and Petition from Biff Vernon for Transition Town Louth
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    Created by Biff Vernon
    97% of scientists agree that Climate Change is a fact(1)One of the effects of this will be increased instances of flooding. The reserves of fossil fuels left in the ground are dwindling, and are ever more difficult to extract. In the long term they will run out. In the future the world needs to move towards reliable non fossil fuels such as renewable energy. Moving investments away from fossil fuels will hasten this change to alternative sources of energy. Tonbridge is a town that is already prone to flooding,and so particularly at risk from extreme weather events. It does not make sense for a borough that is suffering from the results of climate change to be investing in the fossil fuels that are fuelling climate change. In the past fossil fuels were seen as a good safe investment....but the world is changing, and they are not the most reliable source of energy for the future. 1
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    Created by Frances Long
  • Divest City of Westminster Borough from Fossil Fuels
    The 33 London local authorities’ pension funds are investing £1,882 million in fossil fuel companies, averaging just over 6% of their total pension investments. Westminster with 7.8% of its total pension invested in fossil fuels is among the 10 London councils with the highest percentage investments. Why Divest? Local authorities in the UK led the way on divesting from apartheid in the 1980s. They can do so again to challenge catastrophic climate change. Moral Argument - Financial Argument – Public Benefit Argument Pensions are for our and our families’ future. But that future is threatened by fossil fuel extraction. It is also a financial argument. When governments finally take climate change seriously and legislate to leave fossil fuels in the ground, shares in oil, gas and coal will become worthless. Funds which don’t invest in fossil fuels often perform as well or better than fossil-fuel heavy funds, so divestment does not mean that existing pension funds lose out. And it is a public benefit argument. By investing this capital into renewable energy, public transport and social housing, local government could create jobs and boost local economies, while protecting pensions.
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  • Divest Enfield Council from fossil fuels
    Fossil fuels will soon become obsolete. They are a fuel source that is no longer wanted, as a recognised danger to the health of humans, wildlife, and the planet. They are also a fuel source that is no longer needed, as so many cheap and abundant renewable fuel sources wait to be harnessed. The shift to clean energy is inevitable. In November 2016 the Paris Agreement was ratified: "Recognizing the need for an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the basis of the best available scientific knowledge." However, in November 2017, Fossil Free UK revealed that councils across the UK were investing more than £16billion in the fossil fuel industry. The London Borough of Enfield Pension Fund has itself invested more than £60million in such companies, representing 5.6% of its £1billion total investments. Given the damage that fossil fuels have already caused to our environment, and the growing threat of man-made climate change as a danger both to us and to future generations, fossil fuels represent an unethical investment. But there is also strong evidence that such financial investments are highly risky. Coal use in the UK has fallen by 74% over the past decade, and the government has pledged that all coal-fired power stations will close by 2025. Other fossil fuels such as oil and gas face sharp declines in future, as renewable sources overtake them. The Divest Movement seeks to persuade public institutions that ditching investments in fossil fuel companies is the right decision to make on both a moral and financial basis. Over the border from Enfield, Waltham Forest Council recently became the first UK local authority to fully commit to divest from fossil fuels. If Enfield Council did the same, it too could become a leader in the global shift to a fossil free future.
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    Created by James Cracknell Picture