Coventry Declares a Climate Non-Emergency

On Tuesday 18th June, in declaring a “Climate Emergency”. This was a welcome symbolic step forward for the city. Unfortunately, Coventry failed to set out a meaningful target for climate change, as the council resolved to “recommend the course of action that we are currently undertaking”. Jim O’Boyle praised Coventry’s record on climate change, but falls in greenhouse gas emissions have been small and mostly due to rising poverty and deindustrialisation. Transport emissions remain stubbornly high, and the city’s highest source of greenhouse emissions comes from food.

Coventry needs to follow Birmingham’s lead and set out a target for net zero by at least 2030. In our proposed motion we set out a manifesto for achieving this target.

How will this be funded? Clearly government need to play their part, but the council also needs to follow Birmingham in calling for the West Midlands Pension Fund to divest from oil and gas companies that are pouring billions into exploring for more fossil fuels when they already have excessive reserves. These funds could benefit local green projects and divestment would send a strong signal to the global investment community that we cannot continue to bankroll climate destruction.

Climate Emergency Divestment

This Tuesday, 11th June, Birmingham City Council voted unanimously to commit to a 2030 target for net-zero. This was a bold and necessary commitment which will shape all decision making in the city council over the coming years. Councillors spoke passionatly about improving home insulation, decarbonising transport and ensuring a just transition. But I want to highlight the speech by Cllr John Clancy who pointed out that in two years since Birmingham City Council came together to call for the West Midlands Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuel companies, nothing has happened. Here is a transcript of his speech:

Clearly this is an outstanding motion, which deserves our support which fills me with confidence in our future. However two years ago next month this council came together as we have done today to commit to a motion that made Birmingham City Council pledge to review its investment strategy and develop and implement a responsible investment policy which rules out new investments in fossil fuel companies. Do you remember that? That was two years ago next month. We came together.

In particular we took a view that the West Midlands Pension Fund (my favourite body as you all know) should immediately freeze any new investments in the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies; to divest from direct ownership and in any co-mingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years; set out an approach to quantifying and addressing climate change risks affecting all other investments; and so on and so forth.

It was very important that we passed that. I cannot see any evidence actually that that has had any impact at all. And if you look at the top 20 investments of the West Midlands Pension Fund, you will see oil companies, and I think the amount invested in them has actually increased in the last two years. So BP – two BP funds in particular; we’ve got a whole range of mining companies that we’re invested in.

We have to take a view that if the city council is going to be net zero carbon by 2030, we have to look at what our investments in the West Midlands Pension Fund are doing at the same time.

Now, you may not know how much money went from this City Council to the West Midlands Pension Fund this last year, because the accounts are out. Last year, this city council gave to the West Midlands Pension Fund to invest for its employees and former employees half a billion pounds – in one year. That’s how much we’re paying into that fund. You think how much is going into that fund between now and 2030.

Now it has to be said about 80% of those funds are just in equities. They’re invested wherever. Very little is invested in this country, and we did in our motion two years ago ask to look at what local investment policy that pension fund was going to start to invest towards. I can see no evidence of that having happened. This year whilst we handed an extra 100 million pounds to that pension fund, it paid out £80 million to its investment managers. And those investment managers need to start advising how we start to divest, because it is a case of if you don’t decarbonise capitalism, it’s going to fail.

And we need to get to a situation where most of the fossil fuel companies in the equity markets are nowhere near getting to their Paris commitments. And the pension funds needs to divest from them or explain why that is not going to harm the beneficiaries of those pension funds.

So can we have in the task force a real effort to start to focus the minds of the West Midlands Pension Fund, investing our money. Thank you Lord Mayor.

We wish to thank Cllr Clancy for his words. He is absolutely right. It is unsustainable that the fund is putting its benificiaries pensions at risk by investing in fossil fuel companies which are driving the global climate and ecosystems to the brink of collapse. The fund must act now and divest from fossil fuels, as demanded by Birmingham City Council.

Climate Emergency Motion

Councils around the Midlands are declaring a Climate Emergency. We believe that any declaration of a climate emergency needs to include divestment of the local government pension fund (WMPF) from fossil fuels which are a huge contributor to the climate crisis.

We are delighted to hear that Coventry are due to debate a climate motion on Tuesday 18th June, but the current motion to be debated does not have teeth. We therefore urge all our supporters to contact your local councillor and ask for the motion to be improved.

Here is a suggested email which you can use to get in touch with your local councillor. If you live in Coventry, you can use the council website to find your councillor.

I understand a motion is due to be put to council on Tuesday 18th June regarding climate change. I implore you to include the following clauses in that motion.
Climate change will have a significant impact on our city and duly I have attached a
summary of the recent IPCC report for our city.

A number of low-cost actions that the council can take to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Friends of the Earth and Fossil Free Coventry have outlined 33 actions local authorities can take on climate change at the following link:

Henceforth this council:

  1. Declares a ‘Climate Emergency’ that requires urgent action.
    Commits to making the Council’s activities net-zero carbon by 2030 or earlier.
  2. Will ensure the council owned waste incinerator does not burn any recyclable waste beyond 2020 and the city improves recycling rates recycling rates to the national average in line with the waste hierarchy
  3. Will ensure that all strategic decisions, budgets and approaches to planning decisions are in line with a shift to zero carbon by 2030.
  4. Will support and work with all other relevant agencies towards making the entire area zero carbon by 2030;
  5. Will ensure that political and chief officer leadership teams embed this work in all areas and take responsibility for reducing, as rapidly as possible, the carbon emissions resulting from the Council’s activities, ensuring that any recommendations are fully costed and that the Executive and Scrutiny functions review council activities taking account of lifecycle emissions.
  6. Will ensure Council Scrutiny Panels consider the impact of climate change and the environment when reviewing Council policies and strategies;
  7. Will work with, influence and inspire partners across the city and region to help deliver this goal through all relevant strategies, plans and shared resources by developing a series of meetings, events and partner workshops;
  8. Will request that the Council and partners take steps to proactively include young people and people of diverse and underrepresented backgrounds in the process, ensuring that they
  9. Will consider the latest climate science and expert advice on solutions and to consider systematically the climate change impact of each area of the Council’s activities
  10. Will set up a Climate Change Partnership group, involving Councillors, residents, young citizens, climate science, experts, businesses and other relevant parties. Over the following 12 months, the Group will consider strategies and actions being developed by the Council and other partner organisations and develop a strategy in line with a target of net zero emissions by 2030. It will also recommend ways to maximise local benefits of these actions in other sectors such as employment, health, agriculture, transport and the economy
  11. Will divest investments and assets from companies engaged in fossil fuel extraction and electricity generation from fossil sources by 2021 or at the earliest opportunity as contracts expire and will lobby other councils in the WMCA and wider region to do likewise.
  12. Will ensure that all reports in preparation for the 2020/21 budget cycle and investment strategy will take into account the actions the council will take to address this emergency;
  13. Will call on the UK Government to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to make this possible, and ask local MPs to do likewise;
  14. Will proactively use local planning powers to minimise future emissions and ensure this is properly resourced
  15. Will ensure that the principle of a just transition is maintained in all decisions, ensuring decarbonisation does not lead to significant rises in poverty or disproportionally impact minority communities.”

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Pledges 2019 Local Election

We are delighted to announce that in the 2019 May Local Election, so far, the following candidates in the West Midlands have pledged (or have party policy) to push for a motion to divest the West Midlands Local Government Pension Fund from damaging fossil fuel investments. ( Please note we have not canvassed in Birmingham as Birmingham City Council passed a motion in support of divestment in 2017)

Sandwell Candidates

Connor Jones – Bristnall -The Conservative Party                                                                                                   Susan O’Dell -Bristnall- Green Party

Hannah Valenzuela -Newton Ward- Green Party
Dave Hosell -Newton Ward- Independent

MUSSI Aldo -Blackheath- Green Party
ALLEN Michael Gary -Abbey- Green Party
CONNOR Paul William– Cradley Heath and Old Hill -Green Party
Daniela Waugh– Great Barr with Yew Tree- Green Party
Fiona Pitt -Greets Green and Lyng W -Green Party
Frederic Lacroix -Langley Ward- Green Party
Samantha Lyster– Old Warley Ward- Green Party
WAUGH Jody Barnabas Scott -Oldbury Ward -Green Party
Heather Allen– Rowley Ward- Green Party
BUCKMAN Stephanie Anne -Smethwick Ward -Green Party
BUCKMAN Robert Graham -Soho and Victoria Ward- Green Party
OTTRIDGE Fabienne Marguerite– St. Paul`s Ward- Green Party
Richard Jeffcoat -Tipton Green Ward -Green Party
WILLIAMS Keir Lawrence -Tividale Ward -Green Party
REDDING Mark Nicholas– Wednesbury North -Ward Green Party
OTTRIDGE Ryan Santi -West Bromwich Central Ward -Green Party                                                               MANLEY-GREEN Bryan Stuart -Old Warley Ward- Lib Dem

Wolverhampton Candidates

WEBSTER Michelle– Bushbury North- Green Party
Ian Jenkins– Heath Town -Lib Dem
TUDOR Helen– Oxley- Green Party
Amy Bertaut -Park- Green Party                                                                                                                                               Terry Hancox -St Peters- Green Party                                                                                                                                    Kate Gilbert -Merry Hill -Green Party                                                                                                                                       Helen Currie- Fallings Park -Green Party                                                                                                                              Daniel Flynn -Graiseley -Green Party                                                                                                                                 Clive Wood -Bushbury South and Low Hill- Green Party
CANTRILL Andrea Louise -Tettenhall Wightwick- Green Party
HARRIS Lee– Wednesfield North -Green Party

DONALD Julian– Tettenhall Regis -Lib Dem                                                                                                                        Benjamin Brunsdon- Tettenhall Regis -Green Party

HOLLIS Peter George– Penn- Lib Dem                                                                                                                                  Holly Whitmill -Penn -Green Party

Dudley Candidates

Daniel Archer- St Thomas`s- Green Party                                                                                                                          David Sheppard -Quarry Bank & Dudley Wood- Lib Dem
FLYNN Ian -Amblecote -Lib Dem Focus Team
MCCOMISH Bill -Belle Vale Green -Party
ELCOCK Gordon Christopher -Brierley Hill -Green Party
Cathy Bayton -St James`s -Labour Party
Maurice Archer -Castle & Priory- Green Party
Ryan Priest– Cradley & Wollescote- Lib Dem
PAYNE John -Hayley Green & Cradley South -Green Party

BARLOW Mitch -Gornal- Green Party
Karl Denning -Gornal -Labour Party


Christopher Bramall -Wollaston & Stourbridge Town- Lib Dem                                                                              Cat Eccles– Wollaston & Stourbridge Town -Labour Party

CAMPBELL Derek Alan -Halesowen South -Lib Dem
Helen Betts-Patel -Halesowen South- Labour Party

Jack Downes -Kingswinford North & Wall Heath -Labour Party
BRAMALL Jonathan Michael -Kingswinford North & Wall Heath- Lib Dem
Pam Archer– Kingswinford North & Wall Heath- Green Party

BRADLEY Taryn Zoe -Kingswinford South- Green Party
Elizabeth Geeves– Kingswinford South- Lib Dem

Alan Lewers -Lye & Stourbridge North- Lib Dem
Lawrence Rowlett– Lye & Stourbridge North- Green Party

Alexander Botten -Netherton, Woodside & St Andrew`s- Lib Dem
WRIGHT Alex -Netherton, Woodside & St Andrew`s- Green Party


Mark Binnersley– Norton -Green Party
Elaine Sheppard– Norton- Lib Dem Focus Team
Andrew Tromans -Norton- Labour Party


Catherine Maguire– Pedmore & Stourbridge East -Green Party
HANSON Simon Paul– Pedmore & Stourbridge East- Lib Dem


Claire Bramall -St James`s- Lib Dem
Francis Sheppard -St James`s- Green Party


Alexander Home– Wordsley- Lib Dem
Jennifer Slater-Reid -Wordsley -Green Party

Solihull Candidates

Carol Linfield -Blythe -Green Party
Steve Caudwell -Castle Bromwich- Green Party
Eleanor Aldworth– Kingshurst and Fordbridge -Green Party
WILSON Alison Natasha -Knowle- Green Party
PEARSON Mark Joseph -Meriden- Green Party
Antony Lowe -Shirley East- Green Party
Shahin Ashraf -Shirley South- Green Party
Rosemary Sexton -Shirley West- Green Party
Elaine Williams– Silhill -Green Party
Mark Wilson -Smith`s Wood -Green Party
Joelle Hill -St. Alphege- Green Party                                                                                                                                 Kathryn Thomas -Lyndon- Lib Dem

MCINTYRE Iona Elizabeth Jean- Dorridge and Hockley Heath- Green Party
FAIRBURN Paul Martin -Dorridge and Hockley Heath- Lib Dem

Nick Stephens- Bickenhill- Labour and Cooperative Party                                                                                           Trevor Barker– Bickenhill- Green Party                                                                                                                           COLLEY Reece -Bickenhill- Lib Dem

DAWKINS Hazel Jasmine Ellenor -Chelmsley Wood- Labour Party                                                                         Karl Macnaughton -Chelmsley Wood- Green Party

Coventry Candidates

Becky Finlayson -Wainbody -Green Party
BROWN Chrissie Lynn -Wyken Green Party
Cathy Wattebot -Foleshill- Green Party
Cristian Honeychurch– Longford -Green Party
Danny Foulstone -Binley and Willenhall -Green Party
David Neil Priestly -Bablake -Green Party
GRAY Stephen Robert George -Holbrook -Green Party
HANDLEY Matthew Stephen- Henley -Green Party
Joe McAvoy-Boss– St Michael`s- Green Party
MARSHALL Jess -Westwood -Green Party
MORSHEAD James Frederick -Wainbody- Lib Dem
Nukey Proctor -Sherbourne- Lib Dem
PATTERSON Anne -Whoberley -Green Party
REEVES Esther Mary– Lower Stoke -Green Party
SPRIDDLE Jules– Radford- Green Party
Sudhir Sard -Woodlands -Green Party
VESTY Laura Katherine -Upper Stoke- Green Party
WEBB Niall -Sherbourne -Green Party

Jim McClean -Cheylesmore -Lib Dem                                                                                                                                         John Verdult- Cheylesmore -Green Party

John Finlayson -Earlsdon -Green Party                                                                                                                                    RICHMOND Stephen John -Earlsdon -Lib Dem

Walsall Candidates

James, Doug -Darlaston South -Labour and cooperative Party
MALTMAN John -Pelsall -Labour Party
WEBSTER Susan Elizabeth– St Matthews- Green Party
Gray, Jennifer Eileen– Streetly -Lib Dem
BROWN Carl David -Short Heath -Labour Party                                                                                                                  Bradley, Andrea Ivy -Pheasey Park Farm -Labour Party                                                                                 Wolfs, Amy Louise- Aldridge North and Walsall Wood- Labour Party

Smith, Kathryn Anne -Rushall-Shelfield -Labour Party                                                                                                  ALLEN Liam Craig– Rushall-Shelfield- Green Party

Young, Ann- Blakenhall- Labour Party                                                                                                                                    MCKENZIE Shaun Alardice -Blakenhall -Green Party

RAHMAN Mish- Aldridge Central and South -Labour Party                                                                                       Chan, Guan Khai -Aldridge Central and South -Green Party