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Local campaign calls on GM Pension Fund to “Ditch the Coal!” (Fossil Free Greater Manchester)

news release
24th Feb 2020

Campaign group Fossil Free Greater Manchester is calling on the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) to ensure that all its investments are free from coal mining, the most-polluting fossil fuel, by the end of 2020.

Despite 9 out of 10 councils across GM declaring a climate emergency, their local government pension fund (GMPF) is still supporting the coal mining industry. To invest in coal mining is nonsensical, it is the dirtiest of the fossil fuels and demand is falling rapidly.

GMPF have said that fighting the climate crisis is one of our highest priorities”. If this is true, they must take action on coal as a first step to full fossil fuel divestment.

Campaigners from Fossil Free GM (www.fossilfreegm.org.uk) are asking GMPF pensioners, members and local residents to write to the 10 GM Council Leaders asking them to call on the Fund to Ditch the Coal.

GMPF is falling for the “greenwash” from the big mining companies.

GMPF should listen to the Bank of England who warn that the market for fossil fuels will decline rapidly and the value of companies may be affected by their liability for the damage caused by global warming and climate chaos.” Said Maggie Walker of FFGM.

If GMPF did pull out, it would be following a list of European Insurance companies such as Lloyds of London, Zurich, Aviva and Axa that are protecting their profits and the climate by moving out of the coal industry.

There are full details and a model letter calling for action before the end of 2020.

In a further twist, Tameside council will belatedly debate declaring a climate emergency at its meeting on Tuesday 25 Feb.
https://tameside.moderngov.co.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=44691
The proposer, council leader Brenda Warrington, refers to GMPF pointing out its large investment in renewables. This fails to acknowledge the scale of the far larger holdings in fossil fuel companies, including coal mining firms.

Press contacts:

Mark Burton 0777 594 9479

mark.burton@poptel.org

Notes for Editors:

More information on this campaign: https://tinyurl.com/FFGM1

Action link: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/call-on-gm-pension-fund-to-ditch-the-coal

Briefing on GMPF’s spurious arguments for holding on to their fossil fuel investments: http://fossilfreegm.org.uk/index.php/2020/02/01/new-briefing-gm-councillors-gmpfs-response-call-divestment/

GMPF Annual Report 2019 https://www.gmpf.org.uk/documents/annualreport/2019.pdf

GMPF holdings https://www.gmpf.org.uk/investments/holdings.htm

Evidence regarding the coal industry and investments – Coal Exit https://coalexit.org/

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