Green Party calls for fossil fuel divestment

Green Party Councillor for East Belfast Ross Brown is tonight, Tuesday 1st December, proposing a motion calling on local government to divest from fossil fuels.

Councillor Brown said,

“As the crucial climate change talks get underway in Paris, I am calling on Belfast City Council to show leadership and play its part in addressing a crisis which affects us all.”

“There is not a single scientific body of national standing that disputes climate change, and leading scientists recognise that three quarters of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground in order to prevent dangerous global warming.”

“Investing in fossil fuels is not just an ethical issue, but an economic one. A wide range of organisations including the Bank of England have warned that fossil fuel investments are a high risk strategy and a threat to financial stability as the value of investments are based on fossil fuels which can never be burned.”

“Like the house price bubble when houses were overvalued, a carbon bubble has developed.”

“Fossil-free campaigns have seen hundreds of public institutions transfer their investments towards more climate friendly organisations. This includes universities such as Edinburgh, Westminster and Oxford, while the ‘Fossil-Free QUB’ group has been highly active in campaigning for Queen’s University to join them.”

“However, local governments across the UK are still investing £14billion in fossil fuels, with £206million of these investments coming from Northern Ireland public sector pension funds.”

“Tonight, Belfast City Councillors have an opportunity to play their part in tackling climate change, by supporting my motion and agreeing to invest such funds in less destructive industries.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDS

The motion reads – ‘That this Council notes the warning from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority of a serious financial risk associated with investments in fossil fuels; recognises that in order to prevent dangerous global warming over 2 degrees centigrade, three quarters of fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground; believes that by investing in fossil fuels NILGOSC is therefore acting contrary to promoting the success of the company for the benefit of its members and employers; and calls on NILGOSC to divest from fossil fuels.’

Northern Ireland Government Officer’s Superannuation Committee (NILGOSC) administers the pension scheme for local councils and other similar public sector bodies in Northern Ireland. It invests £206m in fossil fuels.

There will be a rally at 5pm outside the back gates of Belfast City Hall in support of this motion.

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