Residents in Greater Manchester overwhelming oppose fracking. The Manchester Evening News conducted a poll in 2014 and found that 73% of respondents opposed fracking. The figure is likely to be even higher now as the website is (as of 8 May, 2018) showing 88% against.
Some of our councils (Manchester, Bury, Salford, Trafford, and Westhoughton town council in Bolton) have also come out strongly against fracking. And the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, called for a presumption against fracking in the run up to his election.
They have good reason. Researchers at the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre have shown that fracking will add more greenhouse gas emissions to an already overburdened atmosphere, amplifying the already accelerating process of global warming and climate change.
It is therefore very unsettling to find that Greater Manchester Pension Fund is heavily invested in the fracking industry. Here’s what we know.
Shell and BP: As of 31 March, 2017 (the most recent report from the Fund on its investments), the Fund’s two biggest investments were in Shell at £318 Million BP at £275 Million. BP does not try to frack in the UK because it “would attract the wrong kind of attention”. But both BP and Shell are involved in Vaca Muerta (which, appropriately enough, means “Dead Cow”) a fracking mega-project in Argentina. The extraction of this, the world’s second largest reserve of gas, threatens indigenous land rights, safe drinkable water and clean air for people in Patagonia.
So don’t miss the BP AGM, which will be held in Manchester on 21 May.
There’s a public meeting that we are co-hosting on Sat 19th with Argentinian and local fracking activists – book HERE.
On the 21st there will be a vigil outside the AGM itself. Call out BP’s fracking in Argentina – AGM Demo Monday 21st May, 10am – 11.30am: Meet at Manchester Central Library to head to the AGM.
download leaflet HERE
Barclays: At £119 Million, Barclays was the fourth biggest holding of the Fund. Barclays has been heavily involved in the financing of fracking. Under considerable pressure from campaigners it has announced that it is to sell off its stake in Third Energy, but as yet it has not, and indeed it has increased its loan to the company. It seems from statements made at the AGM that they may be waiting for fracking to begin before selling. Barclays still has a statement in favour of fracking from 2015 on its website.
Centrica: The Fund had £78 Million in Centrica, which owns British Gas. Centrica is one of the backers of Cuadrilla, the UK fracking company that has been drilling in Lancashire.
Chevron, Exxon, Conoco Philips: The Fund has investments (totalling £20 Million in 2017) in all these major oil companies, heavily involved in fracking in North America.
Other companies: The Fund invests in Duke and Schlumberger (£16.4 Million in 2017), both companies heavily involved in fracking.
So while the consensus in Greater Manchester is against fracking, the Greater Manchester Pension Fund continues to put huge sums (£826 Million is the sum of the figures quoted above) from local government pension subscriptions into the industry that is doing that, world-wide.
GMPF holdings at the end of year 2016-7 can be found here: https://www.gmpf.org.uk/documents/investments/holdings/2017/mar/mainstream.pdf
Correction 16/5/2018: removed reference to Macquarie, which appeared in 2015-6 but not 2016-7.