Tag Archives: green lib dems

#LibDemDivest can shift £billions out of risky fossil fuels and create climate smart pensions

With news of Climate Emergency getting more troubling every month its easy to feel hopeless and wonder what you can do. May has announced Net Zero Carbon a UK by 2050, but can we really trust the Tories to deliver when they’ve effectively banned onshore wind, supported fracking, sold off our Green Investment Bank and scrapped our Zero Carbon Homes law?

You might have decided its time to take matters into your own hands, having meat free days and recycling your food waste, but did you know, up to 20% of your pension might be invested in climate wrecking fossil fuels? When the House of Commons digital engagement team put this question to an online poll ahead of a Westminster Debate on the topic, 73% of people expressed concern about the risks of these investments.

Despite four times more oil and seven times more coal than we could ever use already sitting on the books of companies like BP and Exxon, it is likely that our retirement funds are being spent, in part, to explore for even more fossil fuels.

Why? Because pension funds are used to managing money for short term returns and crossing their fingers that long term returns will follow. They are not listening to the voices of younger savers that expect returns and a planet to spend them in – not too much to ask!

To top it off the average fossil company is spending just 1.3% of CAPEX on renewable energy investment. A reckless strategy for our pensions and our planet.

Today, its a lottery for pension holders as to whether their trustees and the fund managers who their money is invested with are taking these issues seriously. The majority are not. Yet unpicking this risky position is too complex to achieve for the average individual pension holder.

Lib Dems are already making progress on the issue, Sir Ed Davey has this month started a process this month of debating in Westminster how we can compel all pension funds to manage these risks on behalf of pension holders and also addressed 500+ investors in the City this week with a simple message – the UK is aiming for Net Zero Emissions by 2050 – banks and investors operating in the UK should now be subject to the same requirements.

After all, 250 MPs have signed the DivestParliament pledge to ask their own pension trustees to remove risky fossil fuels from their own portfolio. All these MPs should prioritise the same changes for every pension holder in the UK. And things are happening already. In a speech made by Pensions Minister Guy Opperman this week he praised the “very important debate on the nature of long-term investment of pension funds” but the ministers solution? In his words, to ’nudge’ the industry along is not nearly enough given that in London we finance businesses responsible for 15 times the emissions of the entire UK.

A Lib Dem government would go much further, according to plans being finalised this month for a new Climate Change policy. This includes compelling companies and their investors to align with the climate goals of the UN and those that the UK Government have now committed to: to be net zero by 2050.

The good news is that clean, high returning investments exist. So carbon-free pensions won’t just be solving the climate emergency, they will also be helping pensioners switch out of increasingly risky carbon assets into much safer climate smart investments.

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The Greens show their true colours

As with any election campaign, successful or otherwise, it is important to step back once the dust has settled and consider what can be learned and what can be improved upon. The recent European Parliament elections are no different in that regard. In particular, the dynamic between the different parties campaigning for a People’s Vote, which became increasingly fractious as the campaign went on, is worth reflecting on, particularly as further cooperation with these parties is likely to be at the heart of the upcoming leadership election.

At the campaign’s outset, Vince Cable was no doubt right to seek to work with these parties, as it was important to appear united in the face of the Brexit Party threat. However, following the other parties’ initial reluctance and eventual outright hostility towards the Liberal Democrats, is this avenue one we should seek to follow again at future elections? I would argue no.

In the case of the Green Party in particular, they could not have been more clear in their feelings towards us, suggesting that at best a vote for us would be a “compromise”, and at worst that we “could be dangerous”, having previously supposedly “aided and abetted austerity” (rather than moderated it). It is obvious that the Green Party does not see us as friends and allies, and so I would suggest we stop treating them as such.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 40 Comments

Opinion: Britain’s Greenest Party, the Green Party and Environmentalism

Green Lib DemsThe Green Party, which I was a member of briefly in the late 80s, has hard left socialist roots and is widely considered both anti-capitalist and paradoxically authoritarian and localist. It has a wide range of policies, all of which take note of environmental concerns (which do not begin and end with climate change, any more than ours do) but only reference those concerns where necessary. Lately it has been adopting a less hard line approach and on many matters, such as human rights, is decidedly liberal.

However in many cases their authoritarian command economy habit overrides any nascent liberal instinct, and their antipathy to technological and/or market solutions means that they throw away over half the toolbox before they even start. Dogma comes before evidence, and articles of faith remain unchallenged and therefore unproven.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 108 Comments

Opinion: Climate change – a final chance to act

Catherine Bearder MEP at the Wave climate march

So it has finally arrived, the first day of the Copenhagen Climate Change summit. We have been led to believe that it’s going to fail, then it’s going to succeed and then it will fail again, it’s been quite a rollercoaster. This has really tested the participating countries’ resolve to tackle this issue. This is made tougher because of the economic crisis which has caused hardships for so many people and so it’s understandable that the economy …

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WED: Green Lib Dems annual conference

News reaches the Voice of the Green Lib Dem’s annual conference, unfortunately just a little too late to promote it in time for the early registration rates:

SESSIONS INCLUDE: “The Great Nuclear Debate”; “Greening Your Council”; “Transition Towns”; “Eco Housing”; “Green Campaigning Workshop”

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS: Simon Hughes MP; Chris Huhne MP; Heather Kidd PPC; Donnachadh McCarthy, Media Environmentalist; Lembit Opik MP

PRICES HELD AT 2008 RATES – BOOK NOW TO ENSURE A PLACE

Registrations received after 5th June

GLD members £22 (for both days) £14 (single day rate)

Non members £28 (for both days) £18 (single day rate)

Conference fees include lunch. A separate Saturday evening

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