On the 15th October East Sussex County Council (ESCC) will debate whether or not the East Sussex Pension Fund should continue to invest in fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) – the result of over four years of activism by campaigners across Brighton, Hove and East Sussex. At the same meeting, the Council is also expected to vote to declare a ‘climate emergency’. Clearly, it would be sheer hypocrisy for the County Council to declare a ‘climate emergency’ but to continue funding climate change through the Pension Fund.
Please contact your Councillor today, and urge them to read the latest Divest East Sussex briefing (‘Why East Sussex County Council should divest from fossil fuels’, available online here) and support divestment of the Fund in the debate on 15 October. You can do this using our online webtool here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/east-sussex-county-council-stop-funding-climate-change (a template text is provided, though please check through the text before you send it!). Alternatively you can find out the name and contact details of your Councillor here: https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/mgFindMember.aspx. A template text to send them is provided at the bottom of this post.
You can also sign-up to take action *after* the 15th October to stop ESCC funding climate change at https://tinyurl.com/desactionpledge.
Finally, if you’re able to, please join us at County Hall on 15 October for the debate itself. We will be meeting outside The Patch cafe in Lewes (19-21 Market St, BN7 2NB) at 9am to process together to County Hall, where a petition in support of the Council declaring a climate emergency will be handed-in at 9.45am. The Council meeting should begin at 10am, and the divestment debate and climate emergency motion should be concluded by lunchtime. (See here for Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1542360589237530).
NB We have a small travel fund available to help supporters on low incomes come to County Hall on the 15th October. (Early morning travel by public transport can be very expensive!) There will be an opportunity to claim from this after the debate. We are leaving it up to individuals to decide whether or not they want to claim (ie. there will be no means-testing!). If claims exceed the total value of the fund then we will divide it fairly between all those claiming. For more info contact firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to Gabriel on the 15th.
TEMPLATE EMAIL TO SEND TO YOUR COUNCILLOR
Dear Councillor [INSERT COUNCILLORS NAME],
On the 15th October East Sussex County Council (ESCC) will be debating whether or not the East Sussex Pension Fund should continue to invest in fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas).
At the same meeting, it is also expected to vote to declare a ‘climate emergency’, in the wake of similar declarations by all of the other major local authorities in East Sussex.
Clearly, it would be sheer hypocrisy for the County Council to declare a ‘climate emergency’ but to continue funding climate change through the Pension Fund.
Moreover, ditching the Fund’s current investments in fossil fuels (‘divestment’) would not only remove the financial dangers posed by these investments (so-called ‘stranded assets’) but should also enhance the Fund’s long-term returns by helping to align it with a 1.5°C world.
I therefore urge you to attend the meeting on the 15th October, and support both the declaration of a ‘climate emergency’ and the divestment of the Fund from fossil fuels.
[INSERT YOUR NAME HERE]
PS Divest East Sussex has produced a one-page briefing on the latter, which I urge you to read in advance of the debate: https://tinyurl.com/whyesccshould