100 signatures reached
To: Hertfordshire County Council
Hertfordshire County Council: Divest from fossil fuels
• Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuels
• Divestment from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years
Why is this important?
1. Hertfordshire County Council Pension Fund has £129,078,000 invested in fossil fuel industries, including BG Group PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Rio Tinto PLC. Fossil fuel industries make up 3.71% of the pension fund.
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 http://divestherts.org/
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.
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.
4. In order to stop the global climate warming by another 2 °C, 80% of all known fossil fuels must stay in the ground. 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.
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.  Let's see Hertfordshire join them in making this small but impactful commitment.