A Hallowe’en themed march for climate action took place in Leeds today [Saturday 27th October]. Marchers took to the streets dressed as zombies, proclaiming that they were ‘dead against’ fossil fuels. The marchers were protesting against the fossil fuel and fracking industries and were calling on Leeds Council, West Yorkshire Pension Fund, Leeds University and Leeds MPs to end their investments in fossil fuel companies.
The fossil fuel industry is the leading cause of climate change, with just 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions . The marchers included parents, pensioners, students and several young children in buggies. It was organised by Friends of the Earth, Fossil Free West Yorkshire and ‘Dead Against’.
Deirdre Duff of Friends of the Earth said;
“The fossil fuel industry has five times more fossil fuels than we can use if are to prevent catastrophic, irreversible climate change. Despite this, the fossil fuel industry continues to explore for even more fossil fuels. Its business plans are incompatible with retaining a planet that is safe for human civilization”
Chayley Collis of Huddersfield Friends of the Earth said;
“The fossil fuel industry spends huge sums of money lobbying politicians and policy makers to promote climate misinformation – such as the myth that natural gas is a solution to climate change. In reality, we cannot afford to start any new gas, oil or coal projects if are serious about our commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. It is shocking that the West Yorkshire Pension Fund continues to invest in such a dishonest and dangerous industry. It is time to divest.”
Jane Thewlis, of Fossil Free West Yorkshire, said;
“I’m marching today for a fossil free world. It’s exciting that the price of renewables has dropped dramatically over the last decade. A renewable powered world can be a safer, cleaner, more equitable world. It’s time to make fossil fuels history – it makes neither ethical nor financial sense to invest in them today.”
Madeleine Vos, an MSc Sustainability and Business student at Leeds University said;
‘We are marching because the University of Leeds is still ignoring student voices calling for fossil fuel divestment. They still invest over three million pounds a year directly into fossil fuel industries, despite knowing the imminent dangers of climate change”
The fossil fuel divestment movement is growing rapidly. Institutions managing over 7 trillion dollars’ worth of investments have now committed to divest from fossil fuels. Local government pension funds, cities such as New York, universities, health organisations, churches and the country of Ireland are among those ending their investments in fossil fuels 
However West Yorkshire councils, such as Leeds and Bradford council, continue to invest in the fossil fuel industry through the West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF). WYPF has £933 million invested in fossil fuel companies , including considerable exposure to companies involved in the global fracking industry . West Yorkshire MPs, through their MP pension fund, are investing in fossil fuel companies such as Shell, BP and Total . A number of West Yorkshire MPs have signed a Divest Parliament Pledge to the support the campaign for divestment of the MP pension fund. Leeds university has over £3.5 million invested in the fossil fuel industry. It is expected to make a decision on whether to divest from fossil fuels this November.
 For details of fossil fuel divestment commitments see https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/commitments/
 West Yorkshire Pension Fund invests at least £513,639,500 in companies with fracking operations – as revealed in this report 513,639,500. https://gofossilfree.org/uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/09/03_09_18_FINAL-VERSION-divest-fracking-report-.pdf
 The MP pension fund has stakes in the fossil fuel companies BP (£ 7.33 million), Royal Dutch Shell (£6.6 million), Rio Tinto (£3.67 million) and Total SA (£2.93 million). For more information on this see https://gofossilfree.org/uk/divest-parliament/