100 signatures reached
To: The Highland Council
Divest Highlands from Fossil Fuels
Divest Highland Council from fossil fuels
within 5 years.
Why is this important?
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, in May 2019 they declared a climate emergency and agreed to work towards being Carbon neutral by 2025. However their pension fund still retains many investments in highly polluting industries.
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