Opinion: Divestment is Not Just 'Pointless Posturing', It Will Save Taxpayers Cash

Read time: 7 mins
Divest protest

Jan Zeber, an analyst for right-leaning think tank and 55 Tufton St resident, TaxPayers Alliance, argued that divestment is ineffective and bad value for the taxpayer in an article for CapX, an outlet “founded to make the case for popular capitalism”.

Here, two campaigners involved in the divestment movement respond.

Mapped: The UK Universities that have Pledged to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Read time: 5 mins
divestment protest

Are you a student thinking about where to go to university? Do you care about the environment, and companies whose activities are responsible for climate change?

There is a sense of momentum among the UK movement urging universities to divest from fossil fuels, and reinvest in low carbon technologies, which has been gaining traction since 2012.

Universities are major investors. Campaigners are trying to use this fact to encourage institutions to withdraw their support for the fossil fuel industry by selling their shares in dirty energy companies — also known as divestment.

UK Council Pensions Investing £16.1 Billion In Fossil Fuels

Read time: 4 mins
UK council pensions investing in fossil fuels

There has been no significant reduction in the level of fossil fuel investment by local council pensions since the Paris climate deal was agreed two years ago, according to new data.

The research, compiled by environmental groups 350.org, Platform, Energy Democracy Project and Friends of the Earth, shows that councils currently have £16.1bn of their workers’ pensions invested in oil, gas and coal companies. This represents 5.5 percent of their total investments, worth £287.9bn.

While the value of these investments has increased since 2015 (when the market value represented £14bn), the proportion of the pension funds invested in fossil fuels has stayed about the same.

Mayor's Divestment Pledge '100 percent' Does Not Commit London to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Read time: 5 mins
City Hall London

The Mayor of London and the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) have agreed a strategy to “divest” assets worth around £10 billion from fossil fuel companies, DeSmog UK can reveal.

The agreement seemingly fulfills Mayor Sadiq Khan’s campaign promise to strip the fund “of its remaining investments in fossil-fuel industries”.

But campaigners have been quick to criticise the announcement, saying the pledge’s small print means it is unlikely to mean funds are actually removed from fossil fuel companies — the core aim of the divestment movement.

How Faith Groups in the UK Have Been Calling for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Read time: 11 mins
church of England divest protest

Faith communities have lent a moral voice in the global divestment movement, building powerful grassroots campaigns permeating all aspects of society and heightening the case to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Across many religions, there are strong links between the idea of the creation of the world and of men and the catastrophic impact climate change could have on humanity.

Activists within faith groups have been critical in highlighting these links and urging for ambitious action to be taken to keep average global temperature rise below 1.5C as recommended by scientists.

Five Reasons 2016 Was Actually Quite Good for the UK’s Climate and Energy Policy

Read time: 3 mins
Offshore wind turbines

From Brexit to Trump, it may seem like 2016 was a bit of a disaster in the climate arena.

But look closely enough and you’ll see it wasn’t all bad news in Britain.

DeSmog UK takes you through five positive things that happened for clean energy and climate policy this year.

Campaigners Tell Barclays, ‘You Frack My Home, We’ll Move Into Yours’

Read time: 2 mins
Fracking campaigners outside Barclays in Piccadilly Circus London

Despite fracking’s popularity being at an all time low, companies are still pouring money into the controversial practice.

Some of the once shadowy companies are now becoming familiar names. Cuadrilla is probably the best known, having recently had its plans for shale gas development in Lancashire forced through by an ever-willing government.

But behind those doing the drilling is a complex financing web, with investors often taking solace in being in the shadows.

Here’s What to Look Out For on Climate Change in 2016

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by DeSmog UK contributor Victoria Seabrook.

The world was fired up about climate change following the historic Paris Agreement in December, but what does 2016 have in store for fossil fuel and environment discussions?

Here are some key events to keep an eye out for.

Outcomes from COP21

Not all of the agreements made during the climate change conference in Paris were legally binding; some were voluntary.

Revealed: Local Council Pension Funds Investing £53m in Fracking Companies

Read time: 3 mins

Local councils across the UK have invested more than £53 million in companies directly involved with the dash for onshore oil and gas through their pension funds, DeSmog UK can reveal.

A total of £53,178,179 of local councils' pension funds is being invested in GDF Suez and INEOS, both of which have been awarded exploratory drilling permits in the latest round of fracking licences handed out in August this year.

The majority of that total is invested in GDF Suez, now known as Engie, which was recently awarded a license block to explore for onshore oil and gas near Skegness.

Six Months Later: Glasgow University’s Fossil Fuel Divestment Is Only Just Beginning

Read time: 5 mins

The campaign for fossil fuel divestment doesn’t end once someone agrees to divest, Sophie Baumert, coordinator of the Glasgow University Climate Action Society, tells DeSmog UK.

Glasgow University was the first academic institution in Europe to announce it would divest from the fossil fuel industry over the next 10 years. Its landmark decision was heralded as “a dramatic beachhead for the divestment movement” by American environmentalist Bill McKibben and has inspired universities across Britain and Europe to follow suit.

But six months later, the university is still mulling the decision. It has yet to begin divesting its £18m-worth of fossil fuel investments in companies including Shell, BP, Chevron and Centrica.


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