Santas and elves put council on notice over climate change at County Hall

Press Release
Divest East Sussex [1] and Santas and Elves Against Climate Change
3 December 2019
More info: 07596 483 272

SANTAS & ELVES PUT COUNCIL ON NOTICE OVER CLIMATE CHANGE AT COUNTY HALL
‘No toys for East Sussex County Council until they stop funding climate change’, says North Pole delegation

Tuesday 3 December, County Hall, Lewes: A delegation of Santas and elves put the County Council on notice this morning that it would face a campaign of nonviolent action in the New Year if it continued funding climate change. Members of the public can pledge to take part in the campaign at https://tinyurl.com/deedsnotwordspledge.

The County Council currently invests £145 million of the East Sussex Pension Fund (which covers Brighton and Hove as well as East Sussex) in the giant oil and gas companies that are driving our current climate crisis – companies like Exxon, Shell and BP [2].

The ultimatum from Divest East Sussex [3] was delivered in the Council chamber during the section of the meeting given over to questions from the public, and followed a protest outside County Hall featuring mince pies, divestment carols and a large sack of presents, none of which were for East Sussex County Council.

No presents for East Sussex County Council until they stop funding climate change!

It also takes place in the same week in which an important survey article in the scientific journal Nature, co-authored by half a dozen prominent climate scientists, claims that ‘the evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and the urgency of the situation are acute … The stability of our planet is in peril. International action – not just words – must reflect this.’ [4]

‘the evidence from tipping points alone suggests that we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and the urgency of the situation are acute … The stability of our planet is in peril. International action – not just words – must reflect this.’

Santa Claus said: ‘This year we’ve seen Australia burn, the Arctic melt, Sheffield flood and Mozambique devastated by tropical cyclones. And much, much worse is on the way unless we rapidly transition away from fossil fuels. Yet East Sussex County Council continues to invest in the oil and gas companies – companies like Exxon and BP – that are blocking such action [5]. They certainly won’t be getting any presents this or any other year until they stop funding climate change.’

Bushy Evergreen added: ‘The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, David Attenborough and the Governor of the Bank of England [6] have all warned of the massive dangers that we and future generations face if we fail to act now. It’s staggering hypocrisy for this Council to have declared a climate emergency and then insisted on continuing to invest in the very companies that are at the root of this crisis. No wonder Divest East Sussex has put the Council on notice that it will be launching a campaign of nonviolent action next year if the Council continues to refuse to stop funding climate change.’

‘No wonder Divest East Sussex has put the Council on notice that it will be launching a campaign of nonviolent action next year if the Council continues to refuse to stop funding climate change.’

More info: 07596 483 272

Thanks to Fran Witt and John Webber for their photos!

NOTES

[1] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com
[2] 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.

[3] Ultimatum text: ‘This year, millions have taken to the streets across the globe – and thousands have been arrested – demanding the urgent actions necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, David Attenborough and the Governor of the Bank of England have all warned of the massive dangers that we and future generations face if we continue to fail to take this action – as well as the rapidly closing window of opportunity for us to do so. Australia has burned, the Arctic melted, Sheffield flooded and Mozambique has been devastated by tropical cyclones. And we’ve watched and listened as this Council has declared a climate emergency and then insisted on continuing to invest in the very companies that are at the root of this crisis. We hereby put you on notice that unless such action is rapidly taken we will be launching a campaign of nonviolent action to compel you to take the urgent action which the current crisis requires. Councillors, the time for you to act is now.’
[4] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03595-0
[5] 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 (https://influencemap.org/report/How-Big-Oil-Continues-to-Oppose-the-Paris-Agreement-38212275958aa21196dae3b76220bddc).
[6] Last month the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, ‘warned that the global financial system is [currently] backing carbon-producing projects that will raise the temperature of the planet by over 4°C’ – a temperature rise that could lead to a 9-metre rise in sea levels (affecting up to 760 million people), searing heatwaves and droughts, serious food supply problems and half of all animal and plant species facing local extinction (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/15/bank-of-england-boss-warns-global-finance-it-is-funding-climate-crisis).

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