Time to end to public sector pension investment in fossil fuels

Local authorities and government bodies must stop funding climate breakdown.

The Scottish Greens are calling for the UK government to introduce legislation to halt all public sector pension investment in polluters and fossil fuels. 

UK local government pension schemes alone are estimated to have £16 billion invested in fossil fuel assets.

This is part of a package of bold and vital measures included in the Scottish Green manifesto to end government subsidies and support for oil and gas companies, including an end to tax breaks and a ban on fossil fuel advertising.

The party’s co-leader, Patrick Harvie MSP, said: “We are in a climate emergency and we all need to take action.

“Talking about the crisis is not enough, and governments and public bodies need to be prepared to put their money where their mouths are and stop pouring billions of pounds into the companies and industries that are destroying our planet.

“The money that our institutions invest in sends a message, and tells us a lot about their values and their priorities. We need to invest in sustainable industries instead of undermining our own future.

“Public money must be used for the public good, rather than being used to fast track our journey to climate breakdown. Our governments must show climate leadership and start funding green solutions and our transition to an economy that works for people and planet.

“It’s time to ditch these damaging investments and accelerate our transition to a fairer, greener and better future.”

Mr Harvie added: “The next five years will be crucial for our environment. Future generations will remember what we did and didn’t do for our planet. Whoever forms the next government will have a huge responsibility on their hands. 

“I hope that as many people as possible vote like their future depends on it by voting for climate action on July 04.”

From the Scottish Greens manifesto

  • This programme of investment must be supported by ending UK Government subsidies and financial support for the fossil fuel sector, including: 

  • Scrap the current system of tax reliefs and incentives to oil and gas companies engaged in North Sea extraction, currently worth £18.1 billion between 2023 and 2026.Introduce a real and effective windfall tax on excess profits in the sector, and close the current loophole which provides relief for profits reinvested in drilling for new oil and gas.

  • Divest public sector pensions from fossil fuels. UK local government pension schemes alone are estimated to have £16 billion invested in fossil fuel assets. This funding leaves pensioners exposed to significant long term risk and could be harnessed to fund the green transition, including Scotland’s renewables sector. 

  • Act on the UN Secretary-General’s call to ban fossil fuel advertising, recognising their role in aiding and abetting the corporations most responsible for planetary destruction. 

  • Bring forward legislation to require fossil fuel companies to pay a share of the damage caused by climate change. This should follow the approach taken by the US state of Vermont, which has passed a law requiring Big Oil companies to pay contributions towards the economic damage that the state has suffered due to climate change since the 1990s.

More in Climate Action