Updated: Sep 29
If you're concerned or angry at the backsliding underway on switching energy supply from "dirty" oil, gas and coal to cheaper renewable sources, there's a great way we can make a BIG difference - without needing to spend more than a few minutes, if that's all we can spare!
Quietly behind the scenes, trillions of pounds of investment in fossil fuel production is coming from our own pockets, without most of us knowing anything about it. Pension fund schemes across the UK use our council taxes, as well as working with many of our local employers such as theatres, universities and schools.
Newcastle Council is one of six local authorities that run Tyne & Wear Pension Fund. The fund's total investment in fossil fuel is more than £230 million, and you can help the campaign to end that by selecting which of these actions you can do. For more information on any of them, email Olwyn Hocking (via firstname.lastname@example.org or the Member section of this website)
Join our volunteers who witness the Pension Fund decision makers in action at their quarterly meetings in South Shields Town Hall. Even attending one meeting will be a great help - we can advise on metro, bus and ferry routes, and can usually offer lifts. Newcastle Council's representative attends these meetings. Although Newcastle Council has declared a climate emergency and aims to reach net zero emissions by 2030, its own pension fund has the much later target of 2050.
Sign the Divest Tyne & Wear petition - links available from the webpages
If you're a member of the Tyne & Wear Pension Fund, consider supporting the
"Reinvent our 3%" campaign. Frustrated that several years of campaigning have failed to add urgency to ending those investments, pension fund holders have now taken matters into their own hands. They've voluntarily removed the 3% of their pensions that come from fossil fuels and donated it to a "green charity" - Recyke y'bike. Facebook page here. Their first giant cheque has been presented, and protesters wore black gags to underline that they have been denied a voice in decisions about the fossil fuel investment.
Organiser Lesley Mountain said that pensioners who are members of the scheme are angry that children and grandchildren will suffer the consequences if fossil fuel emissions are not drastically reduced in line with the Paris Agreement: “Pensions are meant to be about security. As pensioners we see no security for the next generations. Investing in coal, oil and gas will destroy everyone’s future. We don’t want to profit from this, so we’ve taken personal action. We urge Tyne & Wear Pension Fund to follow our lead and be part of the solution, rather than continuing to fuel the climate crisis for decades to come.”
**To see how big an impact looking at Green Finance can make on climate change, read our Climate Action Newcastle blog "Our finance carbon footprint matters".