Dinosaurs took to the streets of Shrewsbury on Saturday as campaign group Fossil Free Shropshire launched a petition calling on the Shropshire Pension Fund to stop investing in fossil fuels ahead of a key vote in November.
Campaigners asked members of the public to sign their petition and send personalised postcards to the Pension Fund Committee which controls the county’s flagship £2 billion pension scheme.
The crucial November vote follows recent calls from Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council and several other Shropshire local authorities to divest the pension fund from climate-wrecking companies like BP and Shell.
Kris Welch, a spokesperson for the group said: “In November the Shropshire Pension Fund Committee faces a historic decision. Do they listen to the advice of people like Sir David Attenborough and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney and get out of fossil fuels, or do they continue with business as usual and watch the planet burn? Shockingly, the Pension Fund Committee is still on the fence on this issue. Perhaps they haven’t seen the wildfires and floods sweeping across the globe.
“We’re asking residents of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, whose council tax contributes to the pension scheme, to make their voices heard. The fund will be more financially profitable and help heal the planet if it invests in clean renewable energy instead of dirty fossil fuels.”
Recent research has shown that investment in renewables provides consistently better financial returns than those in fossil fuel companies. Meanwhile over $11 trillion has been pledged for divestment as institutions around the world – including Nest, the UK’s largest pension fund manager – sell their fossil fuel investments.
With the nation hosting the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, the Committee’s vote comes at a moment when the eyes of the world are on the UK.
Ms Welch added: “A recent report from think tank Chatham House warned that we currently have a 1% chance of meeting the Paris Agreement target of keeping the world below 1.5C of temperature rises. As a parent, I am terrified for the younger generation. A year ago children from across Shropshire wrote to the Pension Committee expressing their fears over the climate emergency and were given short shrift. The Pension Committee is ignoring residents, councillors, and even their own members, who haven’t even been balloted on this issue. That’s why we need people across Shropshire to sign our petition and tell them to stop being dinosaurs.”