Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaigners are celebrating the 1000th signature on their petition to the West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF) which calls on Bradford Council and WYPF managers to ‘divest’ from their £671 million fossil fuel investments.
The campaigners argue that there are strong financial, as well as ethical, reasons for the pension fund to take its money out of fossil fuels. Ali Stopher from Fossil Free West Yorkshire said: “UK Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry Nick Hurd recently stated* in Parliament that ’70-75% of known fossil fuels must be left unused in order to have a 50% chance of limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees’. The writing is clearly on the wall for fossil fuels and smart investors will be moving their money to clean, renewable alternatives.”
Kevin Warnes, Green Party Councillor for Shipley and a strong supporter the Fossil Free WYPF campaign added: “I hope that we in Bradford will soon be following the examples of forward thinking local government pension funds like Waltham Forest and Southwark and pulling all investments from the fossil fuel industry. We have a responsibility to invest WYPF pension fund members’ money safely and consider the potential financial risk of ‘stranded assets’ from the fossil fuel industry”.
At a recent event in Bradford (https://fossilfreewypf.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/councillors-join-campaigners-to-call-for-action-on-flooding/) the Fossil Free campaigners also made links between flooding in West Yorkshire and the WYPF’s fossil fuel investments. Ali Stopher added: “Climate change is making flooding in West Yorkshire more likely – our pension money should not be invested in companies whose actions are increasing risks to our security”.
The Fossil Free campaigners are keen to share the financial and ethical arguments for divestment through dialogue with WYPF officials, and will continue to grow the petition through street petitioning and events in West Yorkshire, including around Global Divestment week in May.
Link to petition: campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-west-yorkshire-pension-fund-from-fossil-fuel-investments