Kirklees questions fossil fuel investments
Council takes steps towards divesting its finances from fossil fuels
Kirklees Council has today (Wednesday 7th October 2015) voted in favour of a Fossil Free Kirklees motion proposed by Green Party councillor for Newsome Andrew Cooper. The motion acknowledges that ‘80% of existing fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned if we are to keep below the internationally agreed climate change goal of keeping below 2 degrees’. It also recognises that there is a ‘strong financial case for divestment, with recent concerns raised by the Bank of England about ‘unburnable carbon’ and significant financial risks posed by fossil fuel equities‘.
The Motion asks that the Council’s Director of Resources reviews the existing Treasury Management Strategy, and present a report by June 2016 ‘giving consideration to an additional principle of avoiding direct investment in institutions with material links to fossil fuel extraction’. The Motion also asks that Kirklees Council will use its influence to call on West Yorkshire Pension Fund (WYPF) to review investments in the fossil fuel industry. Specifically Kirklees will ask its representatives on the WYPF Investment Advisory Panel ‘to call on all Pension Trustees to exercise their fiduciary duty and to call for a review of WYPF fossil fuel investments in the light of climate risk posed by fossil fuel equities’. In addition the Motion states that ‘Kirklees Council request that WYPF makes a commitment to wind down exposure to the Carbon Underground top 200 fossil fuel companies over a 5 year period‘.
Chayley Collis from Huddersfield Friends of the Earth who handed in a Fossil Free Kirklees petition at the Council meeting commented “Kirklees Council has shown great climate leadership and financial prudence today by supporting the Fossil Free Kirklees motion and taking steps towards divesting its finances from fossil fuels”.
Read full text of the Fossil Free Kirklees Motion