With Trump left isolated at the G20, Birmingham Councillors have chosen to stand alongside prominent world leaders in tackling climate change.
On the evening of Tuesday 11th July the Birmingham Full Council debated a motion to back divestment of the Local Government Pension Fund ‘West Midlands Pension Fund’ from fossil fuels.
The motion was proposed by Councillor Roger Harmer, Lib Dem Councillor for Acocks Green following calls from regional campaign group Divest West Midlands Pension Fund. He said:
I am delighted to see Birmingham City Council councillors united in supporting divestment from fossil fuels today.
If we are to save our environment for future generations it is vital that we leave most of our coal and oil resources in the ground. It therefore makes no sense for Birmingham’s pension funds to be investing in industries based on exploiting these resources. Instead we should be investing more in low carbon technologies, which enable us to live cleaner, healthier lives.
Councillor Roger Harmer, Lib Dem Councillor for Acocks Green
The motion also called on the Council to rule out new investments in Fossil Fuels.
Kay Edwards, co-ordinator of regional campaign group Divest WMPF commented:
This is a wonderful that Birmingham City Council has shown leadership Birmingham in leading the way towards a fossil free future for the West Midlands.
We welcome commitments to press the pension fund to divest the £393 million it currently invests in coal, oil and gas companies. Instead, the West Midlands could reinvest this money into building new homes, clean renewable energy or public transport.
Kay Edwards, co-ordinator of regional campaign group Divest WMPF
Reports have shown that climate change is already, and will continue to have great impacts on our region and the world.
We are really excited that Birmingham City Council will be debating a motion calling on the West Midlands Pension Fund to divest from fossil Fuels.
The motion also calls on the Council to rule out new investments in Fossil Fuels. The Motion will be debated on Tuesday 11th July.
Here is the text of the motion to be debated:
Birmingham City Council recognises that:
- Burning fossil fuels poses a serious risk to the stability of the climate upon which our well-being and economy depend.
- Research demonstrates that up to 80% world’s proven fossil fuel reserves will have to remain unburnt if we are to have a reasonable chance of keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the globally agreed target for climate change mitigation.
- Since 80% of fossil fuels must remain in the ground, the reserves of the fossil fuel industry risk becoming ‘stranded assets’ with little or no value – representing a substantial financial risk for those that invest in them.
- West Midlands Pension Fund currently has over £393 million invested in the oil, coal and gas industries. This is environmentally and financially irresponsible.
- To date, over 500 institutions representing over $3.4 trillion in assets have committed to divest from fossil fuel companies.
In response to this Birmingham City Council pledges to:
A) Review its Investment Strategy and develop and implement a Responsible Investment Policy, which rules out new investments in Fossil fuel companies.
B) Call on West Midlands Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels by mandating its representative on the Pension Fund Committee to call for the development and adoption of Responsible Investment policies which:
- Immediately freeze any new investment in the top 200 publicly-
traded fossil fuel companies;
- Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years;
- Set out an approach to quantifying and addressing climate change risks affecting all other investments, and
- Focus future investments on areas that minimise climate change risk.
Proposed by Cllr Roger Harmer
Seconded by Cllr Jon Hunt