In the run up to General Election and following several emails from constituents, I added my name to the Divest Parliament pledge. The full text outlined in the pledge can be found herein but the essence of the pledge centres on the profound recognition that in order to limit global temperatures to well below 2 degrees C – as outlined in the landmark Paris agreement in December 2015 – the vast majority of fossil fuels must be kept in the ground.
This recognition has important ramifications for public and private investments, particularly large pension funds that collectively invest billions in companies focused on developing new sources and extracting from existing fossil fuel reserves such as BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil. These investments risk becoming ‘stranded assets’, meaning they will be essentially worthless as the world continues its acceleration towards a low-carbon global economy.
The pledge is calling for the Parliamentary Contributions Pension Fund, the pension fund for all current and former MPs, to recognise the environmental, financial and social risks posed by continued investment in fossil fuel companies and to gradually shift these investments into low-carbon and ethical alternatives.
It is vitally important that MPs align the climate policies of our political parties with our personal investments in the pension fund at the earliest opportunity, the tragic climate events throughout the summer have underscored the urgency for doing this. I will be working with MPs across the political spectrum to make sure that trustees of the MPs pension fund act in accordance with the demands of the pledge.
This summer has seen glimpses of an exciting and sustainable future, with 70% of the UK’s electricity supply coming from low-carbon sources. Off the coast of Liverpool, the largest wind turbines in the world have recently been installed (generating even more power) and offshore projects are now being approved at record low prices, which will lower energy bills for customers in the future. Further afield, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide China, has already surpassed its 2020 targets for the installation of solar panels.
To find out more about the Divest Parliament campaign, please visit their website: https://gofossilfree.org/uk/divest-parliament