Bus tour takes divestment message across East Sussex

Press release
Divest East Sussex and Don’t Frack with Sussex [1]
24 September 2017

BUS TOUR TAKES DIVESTMENT MESSAGE ACROSS EAST SUSSEX
Campaigners collect over 640 signatures for petition urging County Council to make local government pension scheme fossil free

Saturday 23 September 2017, across East Sussex: A group of East Sussex residents visited Hastings, Bexhill, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Seaford, Crowborough and Uckfield yesterday (Saturday 23 September) in a bus powered by waste cooking oil [2], during a one-day tour to publicise the campaign to persuade East Sussex County Council to stop investing local people’s pension monies in fossil fuels (oil, coal & gas).

Gathering signatures for the Divest East Sussex petition in Hailsham during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017

Equipped with their own mobile bus stop and traditionally-dressed bus conductor, the campaigners collected over 640 signatures for the ‘Divest East Sussex’ petition bringing the current total to over 2,500. They also distributed copies of a ‘Global Waming Time Table’ with the message: ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change: Make Pensions Fossil Free.’ [3]

Investments in fossil fuels have become increasingly controversial, with over 680 institutions in 76 countries, managing assets worth more than $5 trillion, making some form of divestment commitment since 2012 [4]. UK public pension funds lost nearly £700m during 2014/15 when the value of their investments in the coal industry plummeted. [5]

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Collecting signatures for the ‘Divest East Sussex’ petition in Seaford during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017

The East Sussex Pension Fund – which is administered by the County Council and holds the pensions for a wide range of organisations from across East Sussex – is estimated to have at least £150m invested in fossil fuels [6]. Three members of the Fund – Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council and Brighton and Hove City Council – have already passed motions calling on the Fund to divest from fossil fuels [7].

Julia Hilton from Divest East Sussex said: ‘We’ve already seen global warming of over 1 degree centigrade [8], and the resulting climate change is now leading to increasingly severe impacts: from rapidly melting sea-ice at the poles [9] to 50 degree heatwaves in India [10] and the UK experiencing increasingly severe flooding [11]. East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently has £150m of local people’s pension monies invested in fossil fuels [6]. These investments not only contribute to global warming but also pose a growing financial risk for local people’s pensions [12]. ESCC should follow the lead of other UK Councils, such as Waltham Forest and Southwark, and commit to ridding itself of these investments over the next five years.’

Bus tour participant Gabriel Carlyle from Hastings said: ‘It was great to meet and talk with people from across East Sussex who recognise that investing in fossil fuels is risky, unnecessary and a disaster for the climate. We urge people to sign the ‘Divest East Sussex’ petition [13] and help send a strong message to the County Council that it’s time to stop funding the problem and start funding the solutions, like renewable energy and energy efficiency.’

Collecting signatures for the ‘Divest East Sussex’ petition in Uckfield during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017

NOTES

[1] Divest East Sussex is a coalition of East Sussex organisations calling for the divestment of the East Sussex Pension Fund from Fossil Fuels. Members include Fossil Free Hastings, Climate Forest Row and Keep It In the Ground Lewes. https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com. ‘Don’t Frack with Sussex’ is a group of people from across the political spectrum who are alarmed by energy and climate change policies of Hastings & Rye MP Amber Rudd: https://en-gb.facebook.com/dontfrackwithsussex/

eastbourne_3
On Eastbourne pier with the Global Warming Timetable during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017.

[2] https://thebiglemon.com/
[3] See http://tinyurl.com/gwtimetable
[4] https://350.org/big-divestment-news/
[5] ‘Millions wiped off UK local government pensions due to coal crash, analysis shows’, Guardian, 12 October 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/12/millions-wiped-off-uk-local-government-pensions-due-to-coal-crash-analysis-shows
[6] ‘Breakdown of equity exposure’ in ‘Climate change, carbon risk and investments’, document circulated by investment consultants Hymans Robertson at the East Sussex Pension Fund training day on 13 June 2017.

bexhill_1
Gathering signatures for the Divest East Sussex petition outside the de la Warr Pavilion during the ‘Don’t miss the bus on climate change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017.

[7] ‘Campaigners’ joy as Hastings council agrees fossil fuel divestment’, 14 April 2016, Hastings Observer, http://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/local/campaigners-joy-as-hastings-council-agrees-fossil-fuel-divestment-1-7328414. ‘Lewes Town Council calls for East Sussex Pension Fund to ditch its investments in oil, coal and gas’, 7 March 2017, https://fossilfreehastings.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/lewes-town-council-calls-for-east-sussex-pension-fund-to-ditch-its-investments-in-oil-coal-and-gas. ‘Brighton Council calls for East Sussex Pension Fund to ditch fossil fuels’, 6 April 2017, https://fossilfreehastings.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/brighton-council-calls-for-east-sussex-pension-fund-to-ditch-fossil-fuels.

hastings_3
Don’t miss the bus on climate change! Campaigners about to set off from Hastings pier on the ‘Make pensions fossil free’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017.

[8] https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/wmo-confirms-2016-hottest-year-record-about-11%C2%B0c-above-pre-industrial-era
[9] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/21/record-breaking-climate-change-world-uncharted-territory
[10] https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2016/12/15/climate-change-intensified-heat-waves/95431732/
[11] https://www.ft.com/content/831d04d4-b5ee-11e5-b147-e5e5bba42e51
[12] ‘Recalculating the Climate Math’, New Republic, 22 September 2016, https://newrepublic.com/article/136987/recalculating-climate-math; ‘Mark Carney: most fossil fuel reserves can’t be burned’, Guardian, 13 October 2015, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/13/mark-carney-fossil-fuel-reserves-burned-carbon-bubble
[13] https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-east-sussex-pension-fund-from-fossil-fuels

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In Crowborough during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017
seaford_3
Collecting signatures in Seaford during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017
hastings_1
Collecting signatures in Hastings for the Divest East Sussex petition during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour, Saturday 23 September 2017.
crow_5
Collecting signatures for the ‘Divest East Sussex’ petition in Crowborough during the ‘Don’t Miss the Bus on Climate Change’ bus tour of East Sussex, Saturday 23 September 2017
The inside of the Global Warming Timetable

 

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