Bradford West MP, Naz Shah, has signed a petition urging the West Yorkshire Pension Fund to cut its fossil fuel investments. The Labour MP has signed the Fossil Free WYPF petition and has also spoken in favour of the campaign in a debate in Parliament on Tuesday 11 March.
Naz Shah MP said: “Communities around the world, including West Yorkshire, are already suffering the effects of climate change. We need to stand on the right side of history and act against this urgent threat. If WYPF is serious about securing a prosperous future for pension scheme members, it must stop funding climate chaos and remove the pension fund’s exposure to fossil fuel investments.”
The Fossil Free WYPF group is campaigning for the WYPF to freeze its investments in fossil fuels and then carry out a managed programme of divestment over a five year period.
Jane Thewlis, Bradford resident and WYPF member said ‘’We are delighted that Naz Shah has shown the vision and leadership to take a stand against funding climate change, in order to protect her constituents who are council tax payers and some of whom are members of the pension fund. There are strong financial and ethical arguments for divestment, based on the research by Carbon Tracker that up to 80% of known fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground to comply with the climate targets set by the world’s governments at COP21 in Paris last year. Investors are also being increasingly warned of the risk of ‘stranded assets’ with fossil fuel investments. We are proud to have an MP who can understand the terrible risks involved and take action.”
Jane Thewlis added: “WYPF could now begin to divest from fossil fuels to encourage the necessary rapid transition to a carbon neutral economy. Money released by phased divestment could be diverted to local renewable energy and energy conservation investments, creating local jobs and keeping money from the fund in the West Yorkshire economy.”
Fossil Free WYPF are encouraging local residents to support their campaign by signing an online email for members and petition for residents: act.350.org/letter/divest-wypf/