XR Nottingham interrupted the Nottinghamshire Pension Fund meeting a County Hall on 20th Jan 2020. A declaration was read out loud to urge the nine voting county councillors to DIVEST the fund from fossil fuels.
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Nottingham Extinction Rebellion will speak for four minutes and then leave in an orderly fashion to allow you to continue the rest of the meeting uninterrupted.
We are here today to declare that this Committee’s continued failure to divest the Pension Fund out of fossil fuels is economically, morally and environmentally indefensible.
The scientific evidence is overwhelming. We have already entered a period of rapid global heating driven primarily by burning fossil fuels.
The Paris Agreement of 2015 recognised that unless we take immediate and radical steps to reduce emissions we face a terrifying future of climate chaos, ecological breakdown and mass extinctions.
This is an emergency and we ALL must act now.
Companies like Shell and BP can only continue their ecocidal activities with the support of the financial system. At present this Pension Fund has at over 250 million pounds invested directly in oil, gas and coal companies.
Over the past year we have repeatedly brought this to your attention via hundreds of emails and letters, a signed petition; tabled questions at the AGM; and other peaceful demonstrations- but these have all been ignored.
Today we have brought each of the 9 voting councillors a gift of an English Oak tree, symbolising our shared hopes of a sustainable future for the planet.
Councillors, your sapling can be still be collected in the foyer after this meeting ends.
You nine councillors, who have chosen to leave the chamber, have the power to change things here and now. We demand that you act urgently, wisely and responsibly on behalf of your pension fund members, and indeed us all, by taking immediate steps to divest.
The Governor of the Bank of England recently warned that fossil fuel investments are likely to see a massive collapse in value over the next few years. By failing to divest now you are therefore risking ruin for your 47,000 pension fund members and failing in your primary duty of safeguarding their financial security in retirement.
Over 160 UK institutions including 8 local government pension funds have already committed to divestment. Nottingham City Council backs divestment of the Pension Fund as consistent with their own commendable 2028 zero carbon target.
Your current policy of engagement with fossil fuel companies is clearly not working. Their statements remain nothing more than cynical spin and green-wash. We urge you instead to invest in businesses that can help us transition to a zero carbon economy, whose share value, in contrast to fossil fuel companies, are predicted to rise rapidly.
If you fail to take concrete steps to begin divestment now, you leave Extinction Rebellion no choice but to continue to escalate our actions.
Further delay threatens the financial security of your members and the future of us all.