Call for county council to stop funding climate change through pension fund

Divest East Sussex's petition handed in at County Hall
Divest East Sussex's petition handed in at County Hall

Members of Divest East Sussex handed in a petition signed by 5,300 people at County Hall on Monday (September 16) calling on the county council to stop funding climate change.

According to the group the East Sussex pension fund has £145 million invested in giant oil and gas companies.

It is hoped the number of signatures will trigger a debate at the next Full Council meeting on October 15, where councillors are also set to discuss a climate emergency motion.

Hastings Borough Council, Wealden District Council, Eastbourne Borough Council, Rother District Council and Lewes District Council have now all passed climate emergency motions.

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: “If we really are facing a climate emergency then the first thing we need to do is to stop funding climate change – and that means not investing in the oil, coal and gas companies that are driving our current climate crisis.

“It would be sheer hypocrisy for East Sussex County Council to declare a climate emergency while continuing to invest in these companies.”

Gabriel Carlyle, from Fossil Free Hastings, added: “The council’s current policy of ‘engaging’ with oil and gas companies isn’t working. It has no meaningful benchmarks or timelines, little to show in way of achievements and no clear escalation strategies for companies that fail to respond.

“Moreover, despite many years of such ‘engagement’ not a single major publicly listed oil company has re-aligned its business model with a 2ºC world, let alone a 1.5 ºC world.

“These investments are a disaster for the planet and bad for local pension fund members.”