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Authority pension schemes invested £16bn in fossil fuels in 2017

In the past year UK council pension schemes have invested over £16bn on fossil fuels, an increase of £23.5bn since 2015.

Despite pressure from sustainability groups and the public the figure is similar to 2016 and represents around 5.5% of overall pension investment.

The research was completed by Fossil Free UK – a group made up of Platform, Energy Democracy Project,, and Friends of the Earth which ranks councils by fossil fuel investments.

Jane Thewlis, West Yorkshire Pension Fund member, said: “Our pensions are investing in the companies responsible for the climate crisis.

“This flies in the face of the Paris Agreement, and all the efforts being made locally to reduce emissions and combat climate change. It’s time to divest.”

Greater Manchester CA was found to be the worst offender in the country, with 10% of investment – a total of £1.75bn – engaged in non-sustainable fossil fuels.

In addition, Dumfries & Galloway, Torfaen, and Hammersmith & Fulham all put more than 9% of total scheme funds into the industry.

Earlier this year, Unison made an overall commitment to campaign against investment in fossil fuels by Scottish local government schemes.

Stephen Smellie, the union’s Scotland regional representative urged councils to be more careful because of climate change. He admitted the change would be difficult but said “good pensions might not help if the planet is frying.”

Top image: Drbouz

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Cllr Dr Ken Pollock   09/11/2017 at 19:07

16.5 is 23.5 more than last year? Please employ a sub who can stop such mistakes. I rarely read your stuff, but had not realised you have swallowed the "fossil fuels are bad" myth so completely. Can we please distinguish between quoting pressure groups and what I hope would be a neutral editorial stance? "...worst offender..." is not in a quotation from the pressure group. Who says there is offense here?

Dr Henry Adams   16/11/2017 at 12:17

FAO: Cllr Dr Ken Pollock from Dr Henry Adams: It is climate scientists (not "pressure groups") who provide the assessments from which it is valid to say that financing fossil fuels is ultimately increasing climate change and could thus be described as "bad" (not a myth). For example try reading climate scientists Prof Anderson & Dr Broderick whose recent report I refer to here:

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