Imran Hussain MP supports West Yorkshire Pension Fund divestment petition

IMG_0123 (2)(1).JPGAs scientists make the link between last week’s extreme weather conditions and manmade climate change (1) MP for Bradford East Imran Hussain pledged his support for a local campaign working towards transition to the low carbon economy. Imran has signed the Divest West Yorkshire Pension Fund petition, calling on the West Yorkshire Pension Fund to ‘divest’ its fossil fuel investments. (2)

Mr Hussain joins over 1200 local residents, 4 other West Yorkshire MPs, and recently the Shipley constituency Labour party who are urging the Fund to show leadership both on tackling climate change and to protect members of the pension fund. The petitioners are demanding that the fund upholds its “fiduciary duty” and takes the financial risks of climate change seriously by ditching its fossil fuel investments. This is in order to protect pensions from what Mark Carney, Governer of the Bank of England has said is the risk of ‘stranded assets’ in the form of ‘unburnable’ coal, oil and gas. (3)

Shipley Labour fossil free pic (2).jpg

Vick Jenkins, council candidate for Labour in the Shipley ward said, ‘We in Shipley Labour party are proud to support this campaign. It is increasingly clear that investments in fossil fuel companies are incompatible with the UK government’s commitments under the Paris climate change agreement to limit global temperatures to “well below” 2C. We should be investing in the future and our local communities via infrastructure such as housing, energy efficiency or renewable energy to help the transition to a low carbon economy.’

Mac Price from Fossil Free West Yorks said: “We thank Imran Hussain and Shipley Constituency Labour party for showing strong climate leadership and we welcome them to the fastest divestment movement in history, recognising the huge financial and ethical risks associated with fossil fuel investments. Bradford Council administers the Local Government Pension Scheme which currently invests over £933 million in fossil fuels. West Yorkshire Pension Fund last April acknowledged the risks to the Fund from climate change, and expressed its intention to reduce its carbon exposure. However without a timescale for action this intention is meaningless. We hope to hear more encouraging news from the Fund soon. ”

Jane Thewlis from Fossil Free West Yorks added “The arguments from West Yorkshire Pension Fund that they ‘engage’ with or talk to fossil fuel companies and will change their behaviour this way are not convincing. It is widely accepted including by the current UK government that the vast majority of known fossil fuels need to stay in the ground to keep us within safe climate limits. (4)  Recent analysis indicates that Shell and BP’s business plans would take the planet to 3 to 5 degrees warming, (5) which is highly risky for many of their investors as well as a massive threat to life. Decades of talking to fossil fuel companies has led to the grave situation we are in now (6) We need urgent political action to phase out fossil fuels.  In contrast to simply engagement or talking, divestment or action more often leads to governments changing the law, as illustrated by an Oxford University study which concluded that in almost every case divestment campaigns, including in apartheid South Africa, were successful in lobbying for restrictive legislation.”(6)

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