Pension fund member launches fossil fuel divestment petition

East Sussex Pension Fund member Karl Horton with the petition. Photo courtesy of Fossil Free Hastings SUS-160311-110710001
East Sussex Pension Fund member Karl Horton with the petition. Photo courtesy of Fossil Free Hastings SUS-160311-110710001

A new petition calling for the county council to divest its pension fund from fossil fuels was launched by one of its members on Saturday.

East Sussex Pension Fund member Karl Horton started taking signatures at a stall in Hastings town centre.

The petition is on East Sussex County Council’s website and calls on investments in coal, oil and gas to be scrapped, and is supported by campaigners Fossil Free Hastings.

The pension fund has an estimated £172m invested in fossil fuels which the campaigners believe is unsustainable.

“The East Sussex Pension Fund needs to stop pretending that it can influence fossil fuel companies like Exxon – a company notorious for funding climate denial, that currently spends £27m a year delaying and obstructing climate legislation – by retaining its investments in them,” Mr Horton said.

“Instead it should be following the lead of organisations from around the world, such as the Waltham Forest Pension Fund, who are divesting from fossil fuels and sending a powerful signal to governments, investors and others that we need to rapidly replace fossil fuels with renewables.

“I urge all East Sussex residents to support the call for fossil fuel divestment by visiting tinyurl.com/eastsussexdivest and adding their names to this petition.”

John Enefer, from Fossil Free Hastings, who helped collect petition signatures last Saturday, added: “It was good to interact with the public, including people who have money invested in the county council pension pot.

“If the planet is to have a future we cannot burn anything like the amount of coal, oil and gas that fossil fuel companies intend to extract.

“Their ‘carry on regardless’ approach is not one that the county council should be rewarding through its investments.

“It’s heartening to see that there is a growing awareness on this issue, proving that the work of groups like Fossil Free Hastings is having an effect.”

To sign the petition visit tinyurl.com/eastsussexdivest.

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