Hebden Bridge cleaners aim to sweep fracking companies out of WY Pension Fund

Fossil Free West Yorkshire were out in St George’s Square Hebden Bridge on Saturday 17 September. Armed with dusters and mops to clean up the West Yorkshire Pension Fund, they were collecting signatures for the petition to divest the Pension Fund from fossil fuel companies.

As Plain Speaker reported in December 2013, Calderdale Council is investing in fracking and other fossil fuel companies via the West Yorkshire Pension Fund. This has continued, even though in December 2014 the Council  passed a motion  to “take all possible steps” to protect Calderdale’s environment and people from problems arising from fracking.

After a decision by Kirklees Council to look at fossil free divestment, in October 2015 the Leader of Calderdale Council, Councillor Tim Swift, agreed to consider the case for divesting funds invested in fossil fuels. He said,

“The Council’s representative on the WYPF investment panel is prepared to raise the issue of its investment in fossil fuels.”

Plain Speaker has asked Cllr Tim Swift for an update.

West Yorkshire Pension Fund members are working with Share Action  and Client Earth  to get the Pension Fund to disinvest from fossil fuel companies that are causing climate change, and invest in clean technology.

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Chayley Collis at the Clean Up West Yorkshire Pension Fund stall in Hebden Bridge

Feather duster in hand, Chayley Collis from the Fossil Free West Yorkshire campaign said:

“Divesting from fossil fuels is a powerful way to take action on climate change.  We had a very positive response from passers by in Hebden Bridge and collected over 100 signatures for the Fossil Free WYPF petition.”

You can find out more about Fossil Free West Yorkshire Pension Fund here

The financial sector warns that investments in high-carbon industries will prove financially risky in the future, as regulation limits the amount of carbon that can be burned and so restricts the scope of fossil fuel companies to extract oil, gas and coal from beneath the earth’s surface.

Since a lot of the value of fossil fuel companies is based on “their” underground reserves of oil, gas and coal,  Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, has said that investors face “potentially huge” losses from legislation to reduce carbon emissions because it could make vast reserves of oil, coal and gas “literally unburnable”.