At Thursday's evening lecture (7.30p.m., The Royal Hotel), Professor Kevin Anderson is bound to refer to our excessive burning of fossil fuels and their impact on climate change, and the need to recalibrate our economies towards more sustainable sources of energy. Amongst action we can take is to press public bodies to cease or limit their investments in fossil fuel industries. There's now an outlet for doing so close to home.
Sustainable Hayfield has joined with a dozen similar groups around Derbyshire to support submission of an online petition to Derbyshire County Council to progressively dis-invest from fossil fuels via the Derbyshire Pension Fund by freezing any new investments and dis-invest from existing investments in fossil fuels within 5 years. The pension fund has £290 million invested in fossil fuel companies.
Such a step is both environmentally justified - bearing down on a major source of greenhouse gas emissions which threaten global climate change - and financially prudent since fossil fuel investments are increasingly likely to create risks for investors if they become stranded assets (worthless fuel stocks that regulation will prevent from being burned). There is already evidence investments in fossil fuels results in reductions in the value of pension funds. And we would not wish the pensions tens of thousands of employees of over 170 employers in Derbyshire (inc.Derbyshire County Council, all the borough and District Councils in Derbyshire, Derby City Council; Chesterfield College; Derby College; Derbyshire Fire and Police Authorities; Peak District National Park Authority; University of Derby and a large group of smaller employers), to continue to be exposed to the financial risks of such a sector, when safer, alternative, investment options exist.
Institutions across the world including churches, universities, local authorities in the UK such as Bristol City Council and Oxford City Council, and the Environment Agency, have already committed to divest from fossil fuels.
If you would like to support/sign the petition, here's the link with more information.