Labour and Conservative councillors blocked a Green Party motion today calling for the Council to end its million-pound pension investments in corporate fossil fuel giants such as Exxon Mobil.
Currently, Brighton and Hove City Council provides employee pensions through a fund managed by East Sussex County Council, which invests over £171 million in fossil-fuel companies’ shares and bonds .
The move comes as local authorities up and down the country are withdrawing their investments (or “divesting”) in fossil fuel companies, in the lead up to the UN Convention in Paris at the end of November.
Green Councillor and proposer of the motion, Louisa Greenbaum said:
“It’s incredibly disappointing that the Labour Council is refusing to start the process of ending investment in fossil fuel companies. It’s short-sighted and shows a failure to take any meaningful action on climate change.
“The whole notion that employee pensions should be invested in massive corporations who show no respect for our environment is abhorrent. At present, employees are unwittingly contributing to runaway climate change, the effects of which could be irreversible and catastrophic if not brought under control immediately.
“How many council employees, many of whom work hard to realise environmental performance targets in their Council roles, would be happy that their hard-earned pay is funding companies who are responsible for massive greenhouse emissions?”
Green Councillor Ollie Sykes, who has seconded the motion, said:
“Although the environmental consequences of investment in fossil fuel companies are dire, this is not just an environmental issue. Economically, fossil fuel companies are a risky investment due to the potential for massive losses when things go wrong or new regulations are imposed . Whichever way you look at it, environmentally, economically, morally; it makes no sense to invest in these markets.
“The Labour leadership has clearly lost touch with any sense that climate change is a problem. This is a real opportunity to achieve genuine change while reducing risk, using our leverage as a major employer with no cost to the Council. It’s a win-win. Labour’s decision is just petty party politics at its worst”.
Fossil Free UK. http://gofossilfree.org/uk/pensions/
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