300 MPs demand pension divestment from fossil fuels
A total of 300 MPs have thrown their support behind a campaign calling on the £700m Parliamentary Pension Fund to end investments in fossil fuel companies.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson are among those backing the cross-party initiative, along with 30 former MPs, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
A pledge signed by the politicians warns of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded as the world looks to curtail carbon emissions, and calls for responsible investment.
The Parliamentary Pension Fund’s largest single holding is £11.6m of shares in BP, while it also holds £10.9m in Royal Dutch Shell.
The latest show of support for fossil fuel divestment comes as trustees of the fund prepare to announce a new climate change investment policy in November.
“As MPs past and present, and members of the Parliamentary Pension Fund, we call on the trustees to uphold their fiduciary duty and take the financial risks of climate change seriously,” the pledge states.
“We believe MPs have a unique opportunity to show leadership on climate action, responsible investment and the management of climate risk through addressing the practices of our own pension fund.”
Bank of England governor Mark Carney and the Environmental Audit Committee have warned that people’s pension savings are at risk because they are exposed to overvalued carbon assets.
In addition, more than 1,000 institutions around the world representing funds worth over $11trn (£8.5trn) have made some sort of commitment to limit fossil fuel investments.
Further divestment by the Parliamentary Pension Fund would be a “powerful symbolic boost” for those that want to see an end to carbon-intensive investments, the Fossil Free campaign said.
"It is unacceptable for political leaders to be investing in or supporting policies that promote the fossil fuel industry,” said Patrick Killoran, UK organiser at 350.org, which coordinates the Fossil Free campaign.
"We are encouraged that MPs from across the political spectrum are backing up the ‘climate emergency’ rhetoric with action to divest from fossil fuels.
"We hope the pension fund trustees hear these loud calls for fossil fuel divestment and produce a new investment strategy that will help bring about a fossil free future."
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM