It is 5 years since Green Party MP Caroline Lewis called for the MPs Pension fund to say no to risky fossil fuel investments. Today (October 22nd), thanks to organisations campaigning across the country, she has been joined by 300 other MPs.
Supporters argue that divestment aligns with other actions Britain has taken to address climate change and help to keep the 80% of known fossil-fuel reserves we must not use in the ground. At the moment the Parliamentary Pension Fund holds £11.6 million in BP shares and £10.9 million in Shell shares.
“Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is probably the single most urgent challenge we face,” the Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said in a statement. “Divestment will send a positive and hopeful message to the people of this country.”
While it’s hard to link divestment directly to changes in fossil-fuel consumption, supporters believe it can urge companies to adopt cleaner practices. Shell said in its last annual report that the divestment movement could have “a material adverse effect” on its share price and could restrict its access to new capital needed to grow.