17th July 2019

Campaigners will demand that Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) join the growing movement to tackle climate change when they gather at the Fund’s offices at 12.30 on 19 July .img_8231_30488948747_o-300x200

The Fund is the largest local government pension fund in the UK. [1] According to a 2018 report, over 10% of the fund – up to £2 billion – is invested in oil, gas and mining companies, making it the dirtiest pension fund in the country. [2]

“We need to act together to tackle climate change. GMPF is totally out of touch with the public mood and has no clear plan for urgently taking pensioners’ money out of fossil fuels”
said Fossil Free Greater Manchester member Stuart Bowman [3].

Scientists have been warning of the climate crisis for years. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made it clear that immediate action is required to limit global warming [4].

Parliament, the Labour Party and several Greater Manchester councils have declared a climate emergency. The GM Combined Authority want the region to be one of the greenest places in Europe. Young people are demanding urgent action and both the Governor of the Bank of England and the Pensions Minister have warned of the danger of continuing to invest in fossil fuels as we move towards renewable energy. Yet still GMPF invests in companies that are driving climate change.

“The carbon budgets we developed for Greater Manchester are intended to meet the Paris Agreement’s temperature objectives. To keep within this limit 80% of exploitable coal, oil and gas reserves have to remain under the ground. We need to tackle both the demand for fossil fuels and the supply and divesting is an effective way to do this.”
Dr John Broderick, Tyndall Centre on Climate Change, University of Manchester.

Bowman added,
“Despite the changing public mood, GMPF is failing to act, putting pensioners’ money at risk and adding to the climate crisis. Where it was once considered a leader, GMPF is now lagging behind other pension funds in its glacial response to the climate emergency”.

A growing number of local authority pension funds have already begun to sell their investments in fossil fuels, including South Yorkshire, Lambeth and Haringey. Globally over 1,000 institutions have done so, with commitments to divest over US$9 trillion. [5]

ENDS

NOTES TO THE EDITOR

[1] The Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) is the UK’s biggest local authority pension fund with over 370,000 members and over £22 billion in assets.

[2] See Fuelling the Fire.
There were £1.4Bn direct investments in the biggest 200 coal, oil and gas companies at March 2018.  GMPF also has indirect investments in fossil fuels.  These were estimated at £516M in 2017.  Our own best estimate, based on analysis of the Fund’s March 2018 figures, is £508M which will reduce by an amount yet to be announced when GMPF moves some of these indirect pooled investments into a “low carbon fund”.

[3] Fossil Free Greater Manchester is a coalition of organisations and individuals calling upon the GMPF to:

Make the fund fossil free within the next 2 years.

Immediately move all investments out of the most polluting fossil fuels (coal,  tar sands & fracking).

Develop a strategy to invest in local climate solutions in Greater Manchester.

[4] The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC http://www.ipcc.ch) is the leading world body on climate change. Its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ 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 1000+ Divestment commitments.