500 signatures reached
To: Devon County Council
Devon County Council - Divest from Fossil Fuels
(Please see template letter at the bottom that you can copy and use to write to your councillor).
In 2019 the Devon Pension Fund for Devon Councils managed by Devon County Council had a huge £157 million invested in fossil fuels. It is clear that this investment will impede any efforts to reduce emissions as part of its climate emergency declaration to go zero carbon . And furthermore represents a financial risk due to the long term unviability of fossil fuels.
We call on Devon County Council to:
• Fully divest from all fossil fuels within the next 12 months.
• Notify all DCC pension holders in the local government pension scheme of fossil fuel investments and produce a roadmap for divestment with clear milestones.
• Work with all agencies to develop and fund a low-carbon investment programme for Devon County Council.
We urge you to do everything in your power to put the issue of fossil fuel divestment on future Council meeting agendas, and to take every opportunity to ensure that Devon County Council plays its part in securing a safe future for our children and grandchildren.
Why is this important?
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 Devon County 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.
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.
Template letter (please adapt and use your own words as much as possible, talking about why this issue is important to you):
In 2019, Devon County Council ranked 14th among UK local authorities for the amount of its pension fund invested in fossil fuels. The Devon Pension Fund had £157 million invested through passive portfolios, with the two main companies being Shell and BP.
The core business models of Shell and BP are based on the extraction of fossil fuels with absolutely no prospect of change within the timescales required by the Paris Agreement. Both these companies plan to continue exploration for years to come and are opening new oil wells in UK waters.
Brunel Partnership who manage the fund have made a commitment to net zero by 2050 and to reduce the fossil fuel investments of the Devon Pension Fund by a minimum of 7% a year. Such incremental change would have been possible had we begun thirty years ago, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) have concluded that exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations can be built if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating.
Cllr Bloxham has defended the position of the DCC Pensions and Investment Committee saying that “to achieve real emissions reductions it is vital we engage with the companies we are invested in, to hold them to take responsibility for their products”. Both Shell and BP and many of the others indirectly funded by the DCC Pension Fund have spent decades, and continue today, to spend millions of pounds a year funding lobbying groups to suppress the science, spread misinformation and confusion which has resulted in widespread climate denial and inaction. The best way for DCC to influence these companies is to join the growing number of local authorities and organisations, such as the Methodist Church and many Universities, who have removed their investments and placed them in alternative funds.
I therefore demand that:
1) DCC fully divest its pension fund from all fossil fuel investments in the next 12 months
2) DCC informs all pension holders in the Local Government Pension Scheme of the current fossil fuel investments and produces a roadmap for divestment with clear milestones
3) DCC works with the relevant agencies to develop and fund a low carbon investment programme for Devon
The safety and security of the people you represent depend on strong action on the climate crisis. Divest Now!
How it will be delivered
A Press Conference will be held to present the petitions in person to Devon County Council.