17th October 2018

Local residents will demonstrate outside the Greater Manchester Pension Fund’s (GMPF) annual general meeting in Droylsden on Friday 19th October at 12.30. They will call for the Fund to stop investing in fossil fuel companies and will present remnants from the recent moorland fires to delegates.

The GMPF is the UK’s biggest local authority pension fund and has over £1.2 billion directly invested in fossil fuel companies that engage in fracking, coal mining and oil and gas extraction. [1]

“The devastating fires on Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill are just a small taste of what’s to come unless we take action on climate change” said Fossil Free Greater Manchester [2] member Chris Smith, a Tameside resident. “We now know we have to take immediate steps to avoid a climate catastrophe, not carry on investing in fracking and other industries that are wrecking our climate”.

“The Fund’s annual report shows they also have over £150,000 invested in fracking in Lancashire, contrary to most Greater Manchester authorities’ policies” added Smith. [3]

The Fund’s AGM takes place as the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made it clear that immediate action is required to limit global warming. [4]

“As we move away from our dependence on fossil fuels, we don’t want local pensioners to suffer as these investments continue to lose value” said Smith.

A growing number of local authority pension funds have already begun to stop investing in fossil fuels, including Merseyside and South Yorkshire. Globally over 900 institutions have done so with a value of over $7 trillion. [5]

ENDS

For more information please contact: Chris Smith, Mobile: 07502 037511.

Notes to editors

[1] GMPF is the UK’s biggest local authority pension fund with over 370,000 members, over £22bn in assets and over £1.2bn directly invested in fossil fuel companies that engage in fracking, coal mining and oil and gas extraction.

[2] Fossil Free Greater Manchester (www.fossilfreegm.org.uk) is a coalition of organisations and individuals calling upon the GMPF to:

a) Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies;
b) Divest from companies involved in the exploitation of coal and unconventional oil or gas within two years and all fossil fuel companies within 5 years;
c) Work with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop and fund a low-carbon investment programme for Greater Manchester.

[3] GMPF’s annual report shows it has over £150,000 invested in Schlumberger Holdings which is contracted by Cuadrilla to carry out fracking operations at Preston New Road, Lancashire.

[4] The IPCC is the leading world body on climate change. Its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C published on 7th October states that global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) need to fall by 45% by 2030 or we risk catastrophic change. It has been estimated that over 80% of fossil fuels must be kept in the ground to limit global warming.

[5] See https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/commitments/