Caroline Lucas calls for MPs’ pension fund to cut out fossil fuels

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Green party MP Caroline Lucas has written a letter calling for MPs to cut fossil fuel investments out of their pension fund on ethical and financial grounds.

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Lucas told the Guardian that she has written to Brian Donohoe, the chairman of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund trustees board, to highlight her concerns around investing in fossil fuels, including fears that such assets could put the government’s effectiveness at tackling climate change at risk.

She said, “MPs, parliament, should be demonstrating a positive way forward, it’s incumbent to make sure our house is in order. It’s not helpful if parliament is setting an example whereby we’re not shifting our pension funds to sustainable sources and inadvertently potentially accelerating climate change.”

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    The fossil fuel divestment campaign has been gathering pace in recent months, with more universities, religious groups and other organisations facing pressure to act. This week, a campaign calling for Britain’s biggest banks to stop supporting the fossil fuel industry launched.

    Supporters of the divestment campaign argue that moving money away from polluting energy sources is not only needed on ethical grounds but also on financial. As governments seeks to tackle climate change and bring in policies, fossil fuel investments could be devalued because the majority of reserves need to be left in the ground.

    Lucas added, “There’s a strong economic reason [to divest] … That these pension funds might not be performing as well as they might appear, once you factor in the fact that the investment in fossil fuels could well be unrealisable if we take seriously the fact we need to be weaning ourselves off fossil fuels and stay below 2C warming.”

    Whilst Lucas stated that she expects her call to action to receive support others have suggested that this may not be the case.

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    Further reading:

    Fossil fuel divestment campaign targets high street banks

    Western Australia church to divest from fossil fuels

    CAER stands by ANU fossil fuel divestment advice

    Örebro becomes first Swedish city to divest from fossil fuels

    Fossil fuel divestment campaigns can help ‘stigmatise’ industry