Burning through money

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Who cares about the environment?
‘It’s all wrong’

Senior politicians have condemned local authorities in Wales for ploughing millions of pounds into climate-damaging fossil fuels and apparently breaking the law, it has emerged.

One Welsh Assembly Member (AM) told The Eye:  “It’s all wrong.

“We make that law (The Well-being of Future Generations Act {Wales} 2015) and now our own councils are putting all this money into fossil fuel companies”.

Is the law being flouted?

It has been disclosed that Welsh councils are investing over £1 billion of their workers’ pensions in the firms.

 

 

 

The revelation came as the world’s nations met for the 23rd annual ‘conference of the parties’ (COP) in Bonn under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which aimed to “prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”, ie halt global warming.

The new report which revealed the information, Fuelling the Fire, was produced by Friends of the Earth, 350.org, Platform and the Energy Democracy Project.

Welsh councils invested over a billion pounds

It shows that:
• Welsh councils invested £1,027,843,384 of their pension funds in fossil fuel companies out of a total of £15,382,932,477.
• Torfaen and Dyfed local authority pension funds were among the funds with the highest percentage investment in fossil fuels.

Bleddyn Lake, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: “It’s appalling that Welsh local authority pension funds are investing in climate-wrecking fossil fuels.

“This appears to fly in the face of their legal responsibility to consider the well-being of people and their environment in their decision-making”.

But Welsh councils are not alone.

The new data also reveals that across the UK, councils have invested a total of £16.1 billion of workers’ pensions in fossil fuels out of a total of £287.9 billion.

The picture was the same across the UK

Compared to 2015 data, investments in fossil fuels have gone up in real terms (from £14 billion) and did not change significantly in proportion to the size of the pension funds.

In London a huge row has blown up over the amount of money the council is investing in fossil fuel companies.

London city hall wanted the controversy ended

City Hall has stepped up efforts to end its controversial deal with fossil fuel firms, but it still invests almost £70million in companies that drive up carbon emissions.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last year pledged to strip back his authority’s investment in the fossil fuel industry, which until earlier this spring amounted to more than £200m.

Amid fierce pressure from campaign groups, a spokesman for the mayor said a significant amount of cash invested in the industry has now been pulled.

Sadiq Khan was not happy

According to the mayor’s office, the figure now stands at £69m.

In Scotland the woeful situation is much the same.

Scottish council pension funds have invested £1.8 billion in fossil fuels.

Between 2015 and 2017, Scottish council investments in fossil fuel firms increased by £146 million.

In Scotland the scene was the same

The analysis found that Dumfries and Galloway Pension Fund now invests 9.4 per cent of its fund in the sector – the second highest proportion in the UK.

But Scottish councils have not got AMs on their backs…

Check your knowledge of today’s events as revealed on The Eye, with our brilliant interactive quiz:  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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