Surrey Pension Fund urged to divest from fossil fuels

On Friday 23 September, Green Cllr Jonathan Essex is raising questions at a meeting of the Surrey Pension Fund Committee about their continued investment in climate-wrecking fossil fuels [1]. Surrey pension fund members and Divest Surrey campaigners will be there to show support for calls to divest from fossil fuels.

Surrey County Council Pension Fund has more than £176 million invested in fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas [2]. Campaigners argue that these investments put current and future pensioners at significant financial risk.

Sarah Finch, a Surrey Pension Fund member, said, “There is an urgent need to move away from fossil fuels to avoid runaway climate change. Major investors – including other pension funds – are pulling out of fossil fuels [3], meaning that these investments will soon be worthless.

“I hope that Surrey Pension Fund will recognise that holding onto its fossil fuel shares presents an environmental, social and financial risk to its own members and to the planet.”

Cllr Jonathan Essex, Surrey’s only Green County Councillor, said, “Councils like Surrey have the opportunity to take the lead by divesting from yesterday’s dirty fuels.”

“There’s a moral argument – pensions are about our own and our families’ future, and that future is threatened by fossil fuel extraction.

“There’s also a strong financial argument. Fossil fuel companies are losing consumer confidence as the world wakes up to the threat of climate change. Governments around the world are drawing up plans for their own transitions away from fossil fuels.

“Surrey County Council is making some moves in the right direction, however it’s not fast enough. Now is the time to switch investment into renewable energy. By doing so, our pension savings could boost jobs and local economies and protect the financial security of Surrey pensioners.”

More than 200 people have signed a petition calling on the Surrey Pension Fund to divest all investments in the fossil fuel industry from and invest in green energy alternatives. [4]

[ENDS]

For more information, contact Cllr Jonathan Essex on 07801 541924

Notes to editors

  1. The meeting takes place at 9.30am in the Members’ Conference Room at County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2D. The questions have been submitted in advance and Cllr Essex will ask supplementary questions based on the answers he receives. Contact Sarah Finch for a copy of the questions sarahjanefinch@gmail.com
  2. Source: Local Government Pensions, Fossil Fuels & the Transition to a New Economy
  3. Funds that are divesting from fossil fuels include the Norwegian state pension fund and the UK Environment Agency Pension Fund. And in California last year, a law was passed requiring the state’s two largest pension trusts to divest holdings in thermal coal.
  4. Sign the petition at https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divestsurrey

 

 

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