County Council to debate whether it should stop funding climate change

Press Release
Divest East Sussex [1]
14 October 2019
More info: 07596 483 272

COUNTY COUNCIL TO DEBATE WHETHER IT SHOULD STOP FUNDING CLIMATE CHANGE
Debate to take place tomorrow (15 Oct), alongside anticipated declaration of a ‘climate emergency’

Tuesday 15 October, County Hall, Lewes: As climate change campaigners continue to occupy parts of central London, East Sussex County Council is set to debate a petition tomorrow (15 October) calling on the Council to stop funding climate change through its ongoing investments in fossil fuel (oil, coal & gas) companies [2]. The Council is anticipated to declare a ‘climate emergency’ motion at the same meeting [3].

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) currently invests £145 million of the East Sussex Pension Fund in the giant oil and gas companies that are driving our current climate crisis – companies like Exxon, Shell and BP [4].

Over the last four years these companies have spent over a billion dollars on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying, in an effort to undermine global action on climate change [5]. They are also projected to spend $4.9 trillion dollars over the next decade developing new oil and gas fields, none of which investment is compatible with capping global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius [6].

Moreover, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has warned that investors in these industries – such as East Sussex County Council – face ‘potentially huge’ losses from climate change action that could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas ‘literally unburnable’ [7].

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: “If we really are facing a climate emergency then the first thing we need to do is to stop funding climate change – and that means not investing in the oil, coal and gas companies that are driving the current climate crisis. It would be sheer hypocrisy for East Sussex County Council to declare a climate emergency while continuing to invest in these companies.”

Gabriel Carlyle from Fossil Free Hastings added: “The Council’s current policy of ‘engaging’ with oil and gas companies isn’t working. Indeed, despite many years of such ‘engagement’ not a single major publicly listed oil company has re-aligned its business model with a 2ºC world [8], let alone a 1.5 ºC world. These investments are a disaster for the planet and bad for local pension fund members.”

More info: 07596 483 272

NOTES

[1] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com/
[2] https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-east-sussex-pension-fund-from-fossil-fuels.
[3] https://www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/news/cross-party-climate-emergency-motion-set-for-county-hall-debate-1-9077587
[4] Response by the Chair of the Pension Committee to Frances Witt, 16 October 2018: https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/documents/b12581/Item%204%20-%20Questions%20from%20members%20of%20the%20public%2016th-Oct-2018%2010.00%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=9
[5] https://influencemap.org/report/How-Big-Oil-Continues-to-Oppose-the-Paris-Agreement-38212275958aa21196dae3b76220bddc
[6] https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/oil-gas-and-mining/overexposed/
[7] https://www.ft.com/content/622de3da-66e6-11e5-97d0-1456a776a4f5
[8] ‘Carbon Performance Assessment in Oil and Gas: Discussion paper’, Transition Pathway Initiative, November 2018, http://www.lse.ac.uk/GranthamInstitute/tpi/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Oil-and-gas-discussion-paper.pdf

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