The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee (COSC) at Bradford Council is currently reviewing West Yorkshire Pension Fund’s investment in fossil fuels and considering divestment.
Please could you email councillors on the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, calling upon them to support the Fossil Free WYPF divestment campaign. See suggested text for email below but emails will be even better if you can personalise them and explain in your own words why you support a fossil free WYPF. Please could you also also CC in your own constituency councillors (wherever you live in West Yorkshire) to the email (links to their contact details are below):
Members of COSC
- Cllr Arshad Hussain, Toller, Labour, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cllr Dave Green ,Wibsey, Labour, Deputy Chair email@example.com
- Cllr Sue Duffy, Thornton and Allerton, Labour firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cllr Rosie Watson, Wyke, Labour email@example.com
- Cllr David Warburton, Wyke, Labour firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cllr Simon Cooke, Bingley Rural, Conservative email@example.com
- Cllr Adrian Naylor, Craven, Indpendent firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cllr Martin Smith, Ilkley, Conservative email@example.com
- Cllr Jeanette Sunderland, Idle and Thackley, Lib Dem firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cllr Jack Rickard, Craven, Conservative email@example.com
Leeds councillors: http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx
Wakefield councillors: http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/about-the-council/councillors-and-mayor/find-your-councillor
Calderdale councillors http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/council/councillors/councillors/search/index.jsp
Bradford councillors: http://democracy.bradford.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?FN=PARTY&VW=LIST&PIC=0
Kirklees councillors: https://democracy.kirklees.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx
SUGGESTED TEXT FOR EMAIL:
West Yorkshire Pension Fund Investments
I am pleased that the WYPF’s Investment Strategy Statement now states that: “The fund recognises the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, and will seek to measure carbon exposure within the equity portfolio and reduce that exposure over time. The fund will continue to increase investment in low carbon technology and renewable energy in order to encourage and facilitate further progression toward a cleaner economy”.
I would like the Pension Fund to set a timescale for fossil fuel divestment, following on from this statement. I am concerned about climate change and I am also concerned about whether the WYPF will be able to pay pensions and whether this may impact on my council taxes as a West Yorkshire resident.
- Climate change is already impacting weather internationally, nationally, locally, e.g. by increasing the frequency of extreme weather events like the floods of late 2015 seen in West Yorkshire. These not only cause inconvenience but also impose significant costs on local residents, in terms of repairing property, and on local and central government in terms of repairing buildings and infrastructure and reinforcing or building better flood defences. We all need to take action to limit expected future climate change and further extreme weather events, and the private and public costs associated with them.
- Climate change poses significant financial risks which are likely to affect the thousands of beneficiaries of the West Yorkshire Pension Fund, which provides retirement benefits for council employees and those of many other organisations. Indeed, last September the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned that investors face ‘potentially huge’ losses from climate change action that could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas ‘literally unburnable’, noting that, ‘the challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come … Once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.’ (‘Mark Carney warns investors face ‘huge’ climate change losses’, Financial Times, 29 September 2015). Likewise, HSBC has warned that 40-60% of the market capitalisation of oil and gas companies is at risk from a so-called ‘carbon bubble’..
Given these risks to investments in fossil fuel companies – such as the £500 million held by the WYPF in such companies – the responsible and prudent thing to do is to act now to protect the financial future of pension fund members.
3) To date, over 500 institutions around the world, representing over US$3 trillion in assets, have committed to divest in some way from fossil fuel companies, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the World Council of Churches, the British Medical Association and the UK Environment Agency, South Yorkshire Pension Fund and Haringey pension fund.
Please support the divestment of West Yorkshire Pension Fund from carbon-based firms.
You can register your support for the Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaign here. I look forward to your response on this vital issue.