Laura Sharman 09 November 2017

Councils investing £16bn of pensions into fossil fuels

More than £16bn of council pension funds have been invested into fossil fuel companies, new research has revealed.

The data found there was little change in the amount invested in 2016 compared to 2015, despite pressure from campaigners to divest pension funds from fossil fuels.

The online map has been released by 350.org, Platform, Energy Democracy Project, and Friends of the Earth to rank councils by their fossil fuel investments.

Jane Thewlis, West Yorkshire Pension Fund member and divestment campaigner, said: ‘Our pensions are investing in the companies responsible for the climate crisis. This flies in the face of the Paris Agreement, and of all the efforts being made locally to reduce emissions and combat climate change. It’s time to divest.’

The data shows Manchester, Dumfries and Galloway, Torfaen, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Merseyside authorities are among the most exposed to fossil fuel investments.

Waltham Forest Council became the first local authority in the UK last year to divert its pension fund from all fossil fuels.

Friends of the Earth divestment campaigner, Deirdre Duff, said: 'It’s astonishing that councils across the UK are continuing to invest vast sums of money in climate-wrecking fossil fuels through their pension funds.

'With urgent action needed to tackle the climate change crisis our local authorities should be doing far more on this issue.

'Council pension funds should pull their cash out of coal, gas and oil and invest in the new technologies that are already helping to build a cleaner, safer future.'

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