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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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Shropshire children call on County Pension Fund to stop funding fossil fuels

A letter with the signatures of children from across the county calling on the Shropshire County Pension Fund to stop investing in fossil fuel companies has today been delivered to Shirehall.

Shrewsbury residents Alice and Ana delivered the letter to Shirehall this morning
Shrewsbury residents Alice and Ana delivered the letter to Shirehall this morning

Shrewsbury residents Alice Russell aged 9 and Ana Russell also aged 9, delivered the letter to Shirehall this morning accompanied by a T-Rex and a Triceratops ahead of the Pension Committee meeting on Friday.

“I want to tell the Pension Fund Committee that they are destroying our home by investing in fossil fuels,” said 9-year-old Alice. “It’s the wrong thing to do. I’m scared that if we don’t listen to what the scientists are telling us, the planet will get hotter and hotter and all my favourite animals will die. I want them to invest in a greener future.”

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Ally Stockwell, aged 17, one of the older signatories of the letter, said: “I signed because I want to see my future children live their lives in a clean and sustainable environment without climate-anxiety. I would like to see Shropshire branch out to more renewable resources that will benefit everybody.”

The Letter

The letter, signed by a hundred and sixteen children from the county and illustrated with a picture of a dinosaur warning that time is running out, has been submitted to the Committee’s meeting on Friday as a formal public question.

“Dear Pension Fund Committee, We are children of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. We are worried about the climate crisis. We are writing to ask you a question. When will you stop funding fossil fuel companies that damage the planet and our future? Will you do it at tomorrow’s meeting?”

Urgent situation

The children’s letter is supported by Fossil Free Shropshire, a grassroots campaign group comprised of Shropshire residents and pension fund members who are concerned about the fund’s continued investment in fossil fuels.

“We really need the Shropshire County Pension Fund to realise the urgency of the situation,” said Paul Cooper, one of the founders of the group and a pension fund member. “These children turn on the TV and see their world on fire, from the Arctic Circle to the West Coast of America. It is morally abhorrent for our pensions to be funding this. By 2050 Alice will be almost forty years old. What kind of world are we leaving her?”

On Friday, the Pension Fund Committee will receive a “Climate Risk” report outlining how rising temperatures will affect its investment portfolio. However, to date, there has been no similar report outlining what the impact of the fund’s investments are on the climate.

Earlier this month, a response to a Freedom of Information Request filed by Fossil Free Shropshire revealed that the Pension Fund Committee does not know the estimated carbon footprint of the county’s pension fund, nor does it know how much CO2 it would save if it divested. The Committee also revealed that it doesn’t know what steps it needs to take to meet Shropshire Council’s pledge to be net zero by 2030.

“The Pension Fund Committee has spent valuable time working out how to safeguard its profits if the world warms by catastrophic levels to 2, 3 and 4C,” says Paul Cooper. “But it hasn’t bothered to find out what risk its investments pose to the planet we all share. Can Councillor Thomas Biggins or any of the other members of the Pension Fund Committee look these children in the eye and say that the fund’s profits are more important than their right to a stable climate?”

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