8 council candidates standing for election to Leeds council on Thursday 3 May, covering 7 wards, are calling on the West Yorkshire Pension Fund to end its investments in fossil fuels in order to tackle climate change. They have signed up to this statement:-
“As is well known, burning fossil fuels is causing climate change, and to keep to the internationally agreed target of 2 degrees of warming most known reserves of coal, oil and gas will need to remain underground. The companies that are still looking for new reserves represent risky investments. Bradford council administers the Local Government Pension Scheme which currently invests over £933 million in fossil fuels.
This money could be better invested locally in socially relevant schemes and infrastructure such as housing, energy efficiency or renewable energy. West Yorkshire Pension Fund has acknowledged the risks to the Fund associated with climate change, and expressed its intention to reduce its carbon exposure. I favour an end to West Yorkshire Pension Fund investing in the financially unsound companies that are driving climate change.”
The candidates who support the pledge are: David T Corry (Green, Harewood), Ed Carlisle and Alaric Hall (Green, Hunslet and Riverside), Dylan Brown (Green, Kippax and Methley), Gavin Andrews (Green, Moortown), Chris Bell (Green, Morley South), Mick Bradley (Green, Otley and Yeadon), and Ali Aliremzioglu (Green, Rothwell).
David Corry, standing for election in Harewood ward said, ‘I regard the combatting of global climate change as a top priority. I am therefore fully in agreement with the statement above. For the same reasons I am against all fracking.
Chris Bell, candidate for the Green Party in Morley South added ‘It should be a priority to move away from a reliance on fossil fuels and for the Council to hold investments that are dependent on the continuing use of these environmentally damaging energy sources compromises the integrity of their policy decision making.’
And Ed Carlisle said ‘I’m 100% happy to support this – a no brainer for our party’.
Chayley Collis from Fossil Free West Yorkshire said, ‘We are pleased that 8 Green party candidates in Leeds have signed the pledge to divest the council pension fund from fossil fuels. Councillors from other parties have written to us expressing their support for climate action which indicates the interest in taking this issue forward. Action on climate is urgent. We don’t want our councils investing in something that currently causes thousands of deaths per year, and that will lead to a refugee crisis far worse than we have now. Furthermore, the financial risk is the reason many organisations are already ditching fossil fuel investments before they become worthless, and instead investing in clean healthy solutions for the future. We look forward to building on the interest sparked by the deputation taken to the council in March on this topic, with the newly elected councillors, and we urge voters to consider voting those candidates who have signed the pledge on 3 May’