Senior Welsh politicians who condemned councils in Wales for putting money into fossil fuel companies have revealed to The Eye the decision by Cardiff University to halt, has thrown the spotlight back on local authorities.
If the university (Cardiff) is stopping doing it, why can’t they?”.
But Welsh councils have also hit the headlines for their investment policy.
It has emergerged that they are investing over £1 billion of their workers’ pensions in fossil fuel 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 report which revealed the information, Fuelling the Fire, was produced by Friends of the Earth, 350.org, Platform and the Energy Democracy Project.
It showed 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 at the time: “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.
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 blew up over the amount of money the council was investing in fossil fuel companies.
City Hall stepped up efforts to end its controversial deal with fossil fuel firms, but it still invested almost £70million in companies that drive up carbon emissions.
Two years ago the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, pledged to strip back his authority’s investment in the fossil fuel industry, which until earlier last spring amounted to more than £200m.
Perhaps councils in Wales will also strip back their investments after hearing senior politicians say Cardiff University has taken the lead.
Tomorrow The Eye conduct an exclusive interview with the man changing the centre of Cardiff.