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MP calls on MP pension fund to drop fossil fuels

Sir George Howarth has joined a cross-party group of over 270 MPs that has called on the Parliamentary Pension Fund to phase out its substantial investment in fossil fuel giants such as Shell and BP following growing concerns about climate change. 

Sir George Howarth, MP for Knowsley joins a group of over 270 cross-party MPs and former MPs who have signed the Divest Parliament Pledge, which calls on the Parliamentary Pension Fund to review and phase out investments in fossil fuel companies. 

The call follows growing concern among constituents about the environmental, social and financial risks posed by climate change. 

Sir George Howarth said: “The public are calling for urgent political action to reduce carbon pollution from burning fossil fuels. 

“This is why I support the cross-party Divest Parliament campaign to move investment of the MPs Pension Fund away from fossil fuels and towards solution to the climate crisis. 

“I agree with many of my constituents: it doesn’t make sense for long-term pension funds to be investing in companies that aren’t committed to bringing about a clean energy future.” 

Over 160 Labour MPs have signed the pledge including leader Jeremy Corbyn, Mary Creagh and Clive Lewis. 

The campaign was started in 2014 by a small group of MPs, including the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. 

Their first success was to pressure the trustees of the MPs Pension Fund to disclose its investments, revealing that the largest individual holding is in BP PLC. On average, fossil fuel companies dedicate only 1% of their spending to clean energy projects.

Sir George Howarth is the most recent MP representing a constituency in Merseyside to sign the pledge. His voice joins that of Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South and Whiston, Dan Carden, MP for Liverpool Walton, and Stephen Twigg, MP for Liverpool West Derby, among others. 

Divest Parliament campaigners hope that this latest pledge will encourage neighbouring MPs, including Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, and Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood, to also lend their support to the campaign.

Carys Boughton, volunteer campaigner for Divest Parliament, said: “The climate science is unequivocal: the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground to contain warming below 1.5 degrees. It is unacceptable for political leaders to be heavily investing in fossil fuels at a time of climate breakdown and I am very pleased Sir George Howarth agrees. 

“We must invest in a world powered by clean energy - this will tackle climate change, create jobs and improve our health.”     

If successful, the campaign would see Parliament joining the Irish National Infrastructure Fund, the New York State Pension fund, local authorities such as Waltham Forest and Southwark and two thirds of UK universities in committing to fossil fuel divestment.

 

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