Tag Archives: lib dem divest

#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.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 5 Comments
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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarArnold Kiel 22nd Oct - 12:55pm
    After Industry (thank you, Peter Martin), poorly skilled people will have no productive platform anymore to earn a dignified living. Without complementary physical capital, the...
  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 22nd Oct - 12:54pm
    Interestingly I recall meetings where Mark Oaten, our then Shadow Home Secretary and later his successor in that role, one Nick Clegg, proposed that those...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 22nd Oct - 12:42pm
    Reading that very helpful link you included, George, what Phillip Lee was talking about does not seem like what is normally referred to as “forced...
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 22nd Oct - 12:28pm
    Also, it is frankly ludicrous to suggest that, just because the BMA haven't withdrawn a doctor's license to practice over a political stance, the political...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 22nd Oct - 12:27pm
    Many thanks George
  • User AvatarGeorge Potter 22nd Oct - 12:15pm
    Paul, I think you'll find that my most recent comment was around 5pm yesterday, therefore it is significantly less than 24 hours - and quite...