Calls to stop council's fossil fuel investment

Councillor Hannah Copley, from Cambridge City Council

Calls have been made to end Cambridgeshire County Council’s investments in fossil fuels through pensions funds. Councillor Hannah Copley, from Cambridge City Council was one of those to submit a question to the committee. - Credit: Cambridge City Council

Calls have been made to end Cambridgeshire County Council’s investments in fossil fuels through pensions funds.

Seven questions were submitted to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Pension Fund Committee, which met yesterday (December 13), all questioning continued investment in fossil fuels, with some calling for the committee to support fossil fuel divestment.

Councillor Hannah Copley, from Cambridge City Council was one of those to submit a question to the committee.

In her written question she highlighted the actions taken by other councils in the country around rethinking investments in fossil fuels.

She said: “I put to you that divestment is a moral imperative. Secondly, I put to you that divestment promotes necessary societal and political change in the face of widespread greenwashing and lack of proportional change in behaviour from fossil fuel companies.

“Shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies has not, and will not, lead to change on the scale and in the timeframe necessary.

“Finally, I put to you that investments in fossil fuel companies make poor financial sense.

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“Overall, continuing to hold these investments in the fossil fuel industry is failing those alive now and future generations by not doing everything within the power of the committee to encourage the necessary social and political change both from fossil fuel companies and from wider society.”

Another questioner Danette O’Hara described continued investment in fossil fuels as “morally untenable and financially imprudent”.

In response to the questions, the county council’s head of pensions, Mark Whitby said the county council is looking at policies that are “suitably ambitious” and would lead to “significant decarbonisation” of the pension fund.

He added that the committee is expecting to finalise plans to decarbonise the funds portfolio in early 2022, and that a transition pathway will be put together with clear carbon reduction targets set out as milestones.

However, Mr Whitby said that “even the most ambitious” transition plan will “require a full mix that includes oil and gas decades into the future”.