The Divest Parliament campaign has been launched today by a cross-party group of MPs and 350.org, appealing for more transparency on the Parliamentary pension fund’s £589m investments and demanding a commitment to divest from fossil fuels in light of the risks posed by climate change.
Over 35 MPs and former MPs have been calling for the Parliamentary Pension Fund to disclose the fund’s exposure to high-carbon investments since 2014, and address climate-related financial risk. The Trustees have however failed to address MPs’ concerns, and in November decided to close any further dialogue on responsible investment.
Caroline Lucas MP, Co-Leader of the Green Party, said:
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are already seeing its devastating impacts across the world. MPs should be showing leadership on this issue, so it’s deeply concerning that our pension fund is supporting an industry that is fuelling the climate crisis.”
“I don’t want my pension savings invested in dirty energy – instead, we should be supporting the transition to a fossil fuel free future. This is a great opportunity for MPs to lead the way – and I hope that colleagues from across the House will support this push for transparency and more socially responsible investment.”
Barry Gardiner MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade and Shadow Minister for International Climate Change said:
“This is about taking the right financial decision and not taking stupid risks with public money. The global transition to a future powered by clean energy is inevitable and irreversible. It is clearer than ever that investments in fossil fuels and high-carbon assets carry high financial risk – yet the very trustees who are supposed to be guardians of probity and good practise refuse to examine whether MP’s own pensions are exposed.
“MPs should be setting the gold standard for responsible investment and climate risk-management. We need transparency and clarity – the very things that as MPs we constantly demand of others. If we have that we can perhaps stop public money being wasted.”
Liz Saville-Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru Parliamentary spokesperson on Energy & Environment, said:
“If we are to stop climate change then we must rapidly transition away from an economy run on fossil fuels. To do this, we must invest in the renewable energy that we have in abundance. It’s right that the MPs should lead the way on this transition – and, as part of that, our pension fund should be a shining example of socially responsible investment. In addition, we know there are significant financial risks associated with fossil fuel assets, and it’s time that the PCPF Trustees took these much more seriously.”
It’s great to see MPs and former MPs from across the political divide come together and speak with one voice on this issue
Laura Sandys, former Conservative MP, and member of the Carbon Tracker advisory board, said:
“It’s great to see MPs and former MPs from across the political divide come together and speak with one voice on this issue. Climate change represents a serious financial risk to pension savers and investors across the UK, and it’s incredibly frustrating to see the PCPF Trustees refusing to act on this ticking time-bomb. As well as the financial imperative, phasing out fossil fuel investments from the MPs Pension Fund would send clear signals about the need for more urgent action on climate change here in the UK, so I wholeheartedly support this campaign.”
More than 600 organisations, and tens of thousands of individuals, with assets worth over $3.4 trillion have made commitments to divest from fossil fuels, for both moral and financial reasons.
As the world steps up action to tackle climate change there are significant financial risks of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded.
Danni Paffard, 350.org’s UK divestment campaigner said:
“As flooding, heat waves and extreme weather events touch more and more of our lives, it becomes ever clearer that we need to act urgently on climate change
As the world commits to ramp up the transition to clean, secure energy sources, it makes no sense to remain invested in the one industry actively blocking progress. If our politicians are serious about tackling climate change, they shouldn’t be investing in fossil fuels.
All over the world prominent organisations and individuals worth trillions of dollars are committing to take their money out of fossil fuels and reinvest in a sustainable, 21st century economy.
Climate change affects all of us. Whether it’s disruption to farming, tourism, or emergency services in our local area, or the value of our pensions and insurance on our homes – no constituency will go untouched.
Divest Parliament is an opportunity for MPs to show leadership on climate action and put their money where their mouths are. ”
Natalie Smith, lawyer at ClientEarth said:
“If pension fund members raise the issue of climate risk sensibly with trustees, the law is clear that the trustees cannot simply refuse to think about it.
“They must look at the issue and at the very least consider whether it could be financially material. Pension funds are legally required to take climate risk into account where it could present financial risks to the fund’s investments. There is a huge amount of evidence which shows that climate change does present these risks to pension funds.”
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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