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GM Pension Fund asked to #ShowTheLove for the climate by going fossil free

news release

On Saturday, shoppers in Manchester will be asked to send Valentine messages to the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) [1], calling on them to show the love for the climate by divesting from fossil fuels.

Accompanied by a giant ‘Fossil Free Dinosaur’, campaigners from Fossil Free Greater Manchester will be asking members of the public to write messages on green hearts about why they think the pension fund should take action on climate change and withdraw its investments in companies involved in the production of polluting coal, oil and gas.

Ali Abbas from Fossil Free Greater Manchester [2] said:

“The floods this Christmas have been a dramatic wake-up call for people across Greater Manchester about the impacts of climate change.

“It’s time the Greater Manchester Pension Fund recognised that its investments in fossil fuels are making climate change worse and putting the health and prosperity of their members at risk.

“What better time than Valentine’s Day for the Fund to show the love for people and planet by committing to da phased divestment from fossil fuels over the next 5 years.”

Over 50 divestment-related events are taking place this weekend as part of the national Show the Love campaign, coordinated by the UK Climate Coalition. [3]  The campaign is supported by a number of local actress and activist, Maxine Peake, has thrown her support behind, joining Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons in a short film written exclusively for the Show The Love campaign by ‘War Horse’ author Michael Morpurgo.

Jenny Ross from Fossil Free Greater Manchester said:

“The vast majority of oil and gas reserves need to stay in the ground for us to meet our internationally agreed commitment of keeping global warming to below 2°C.

“This is a major risk to the future valuation of fossil fuel companies – in fact the Greater Manchester Pension Fund has already lost £148 million on its coal investments alone over the past 18 months.

“The death knell is sounding for the fossil fuel era, and our local councillors must begin the conversation on how to divest responsibly.”

The Fossil Free Greater Manchester campaign has won the support of influential union UNISON’s North West branch, which passed a motion last Saturday resolving to encourage local authority pension funds to divest from fossil fuels.

Across the UK there are nearly 50 divestment campaigns targeting local government pension funds calling on them to pull their £14 billion of investments from all fossil fuel companies. Greater Manchester Pension Fund is the largest fossil fuel investor at £1.3 billion – 9.8% of the fund’s value – equivalent to almost £500 per person living in Greater Manchester. [4]

Members of the public can send their own messages to the pension fund using the hashtags #showthelove and #divestgmpf, and can sign an online petition calling on GMPF to divest from fossil fuels at: http://bit.ly/divestgmpf

ENDS

 

CONTACTS FOR COMMENT:

Chris Smith, Fossil Free Greater Manchester, 07502 037511
Ali Abbas, Fossil Free Greater Manchester, 07786 090520

 

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  1. The Greater Manchester Pension Fund is the largest local authority pension fund in the country, with total investments of over £13 billion.  Its members work for the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester, and a whole host of other organisations such as local colleges and Citizens Advice Bureau. http://www.gmpf.org.uk/

  2. Fossil Free Greater Manchester is part of the Fossil Free UK grassroots network, which itself is part of a growing international movement calling on institutions to divest (sell their shares) from fossil fuels to take action against catastrophic climate change. http://gofossilfree.org/uk/about-fossil-free/

  3. Show the Love is an initiative from the Climate Coalition, the UK’s largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change and 100% clean energy within a generation. For more information, go to: http://fortheloveof.org.uk/show-the-love-green-hearts/

  4. Data, including spreadsheets for each pension fund with a breakdown of investments, can be accessed at http://gofossilfree.org/uk/pensions/

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