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Welsh campaigners call public bodies to divest from fossil fuels

Wrexham CAFOD group

Wrexham CAFOD group

An open letter from organisations representing tens of thousands of Welsh residents and campaigners has called on the public sector in Wales to stop investing in fossil fuel companies.

Organisations including Friends of the Earth Cymru, CAFOD, and Oxfam Cymru want pension funds to commit to ethical investment policies - and for Wales to be a globally responsible nation in taking action to tackle climate change.

The letter, signed by organisations including - Friends of the Earth Cymru, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, CAFOD, Oxfam Cymru, UNISON Cymru, and NUS UK - urges Local Authority Pension Funds, the new Wales Pension Partnership, the Assembly Member Pension Scheme and the Welsh Government pension fund to commit to ethical investment policies which do not include any fossil fuel firms.

"It is the poorest people, both here in Wales and globally, that are least responsible and yet most affected by climate change," explains the open letter. "We must divest from fossil fuels now to help support more vulnerable countries where people are already experiencing the frontline impacts of climate change."

This call comes just weeks after the largest-ever environmental lobby of Parliament which saw over 300 MPs meet with 12,000 constituents, including over 1,500 CAFOD campaigners, who called for urgent action to tackle climate change.

Therese Warwick, CAFOD's representative in Wales, said: "There's a connection between global temperature records being broken nearly every year and news that coal is in freefall: it's the realisation that we can't continue to burn fossil fuels without irreversibly damaging the planet and condemning millions to poverty.

"The Church is leading the way in the fight for climate justice. Under Pope Francis's leadership on climate change, we have seen hundreds of thousands of Catholics sign petitions and take to the streets in protest. Church financial action has seen more than 3,500 churches divesting from fossil fuels and switching to renewable energy.

"Welsh public bodies must make the right decision now and stop investing in companies that are major contributors to the climate emergency - not just for the future of Wales, but the world."

Friends of the Earth Cymru spokesperson Bleddyn Lake said: "If you invest money in a business you are supporting them. The record temperatures across Europe over the last week are just the latest reminder that climate change is happening here and now. The public sector in Wales must stop funding the companies responsible for the climate crisis.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, said: "In the past month we have seen the pace of progress to tackling climate change gather speed here in Wales; from Welsh council's voting to divest from fossil fuels to local people taking direct action to highlight the serious threat to our health and planet as we experience some of the hottest days of the year so far across Europe.

"Decision-makers in Wales need to be taking immediate action and one strategic commitment they can make to contributing to a globally responsible Wales is by making the right financial decision for the well-being of our future generations."

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