April 29, 2019

British MPs must Divest Parliament to turn Climate Emergency rhetoric into action

29th April. London, UK. Today the Welsh government declared a ‘climate emergency’, at the same time Labour Party and the Scottish National Party are planning a parliamentary debate this Wednesday to urge the British government to make an equivalent statement on behalf of the UK. The stated aim for these declarations is to trigger national conversations inside and outside Parliament about tackling climate breakdown – but in order to have any real impact MPs must take concrete action and they can start by divesting parliament from fossil fuels.

Since the publication of the IPCC’s report in October 2018, the UK has experienced a groundswell of community organising and protests demanding urgent political action on the climate crisis. From three rounds of nationwide school strikes to a 10-day rebellion that brought Central London to a standstill, MPs are feeling the pressure to act on climate change in an unprecedented way, and yesterday’s announcement is a clear reaction to this groundswell of broad public interest in tackling climate change.

“We need urgent action, not platitudes. Campaigners from across the UK are demanding that MPs take emergency action to stop emissions from burning fossil fuels. This requires an immediate and permanent ban on fracking, bringing the North Sea Oil and Gas sector into managed decline, rejecting Drax’s application to convert its coal-burning units to gas, kicking the third runway at Heathrow into the tall grass, ending UK finance that funds fossil fuel exploration and extraction, and divesting pension funds from fossil fuel companies,” said Tytus Murphy, Divest Parliament Campaigner.

Right now climate change is hitting the headlines in the UK but fossil fuel corporations, whose core business model has perpetuated the climate crisis, seem to be largely absent from the national conversation. In 2018, these corporations dedicated 1% of their capital expenditure to clean energy, yet they are set to increase their discovery of new oil reserves by 30%.

“It is not enough for politicians to say that we need to move to net zero emissions quickly – this has been known for years. What is needed now is for MPs to support specific policy and regulatory measures that bring about the end of fossil fuels over the next two decades, and forge the cross-party consensus for these measures that will ensure they are translated into legislation”, continued Tytus Murphy, Divest Parliament Campaigner.

“In this spirit, we invite all MPs to set an example by supporting the cross-party Divest Parliament campaign, that is pressuring the Trustees of the MPs Pension Fund to phase out its substantial investments in BP and Shell, and commit to investing these funds in the clean energy technology and infrastructure future that is urgently needed,” said Hannah Short, Divest Parliament Campaigner.

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