CAMPAIGNERS have called for Coventry City Council to take action against investment in fossil fuels as part of a global demonstration.
Regional campaign group Divest West Midlands Pension Fund (DWMPF) is dedicated to fair distribution of pension money.
It objects to Coventry’s workers’ pension money being spent on oil, coal and gas as well as fracking – to extract limited oil.
The West Midlands Pension Fund is one of the UK’s largest pension funds, managing and administering the pension interests of the region.
DWMPF wants the council to encourage spending money from this fund on clean energy, local infrastructure or fossil free investments.
Yet it claims the government has invested nearly £500million of the WMPF in oil, coal and gas and £250million in fracking.
Divest WMPF is calling on the regions’ councils to pass motions against these investments.
It says the council should follow Birmingham City Council’s lead after it passed a ‘cross party, unanimous motion’ in support of divestment, DWMPF claims.
The campaign has been launched ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this month.
It brings international decision makers together to iron out commitments to decarbonising the global economy.
Divest WMPF’s Ed Porteous said: “It was inspiring to see and hear how people are saying a decisive “No!” to the local government pension fund’s decision to invest £490 million of pension money in fossil fuels.
“So many people were willing to be photographed and videoed demanding action from Coventry council.
“It is quite clear: Coventry has had enough.
“It is time for the council to stop investing in fossil fuels and move the money to companies which are serious about achieving the 2.0 degree Paris Agreement by completely rejecting fossil fuel extraction.”
The group says local councils have a big role to play in the transition to a more sustainable economy, due to their direct influence.
Kay Edwards, WMPF Pension holder and Coordinator of Divest WMPF, said: “Many of the people we spoke to today expressed shock that Council pensions were invested in fossil fuels.
“With Coventry council taking tackling climate change so seriously ,encouraging research and the many low carbon industries based in Coventry, divestment from fossil fuels would be a logical step and allow reinvestment in low carbon industry and infrastructure.”
A Coventry City Council spokesperson said: “The pension fund is not run by the local authority. However, the council is aware that the fund has legal duties to monitor the way it invests in companies, taking on board things like environmental as well as financial factors – as outlined on its website.”
We have contacted WMPF to comment.