Around half of UK parliaments MPs or lawmakers have asked the trustees of UK parliament pension fund to sell all its shares in oil and gas companies. The Divest Parliament Pledge is purpose is to protect the environment. However companies like BP are also at the cutting edge of innovative new ways to create power. Encouraging fossil fuel businesses to innovate for the future is more important than showcasing MPs environmental protection credentials for the sake of a few more votes.
The demand to ditch fossil fuels came in the Divest Parliament Pledge has been signed by around half of the MPs in UK parliament including Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson in a Scottish constituency and the Scottish National Partys SNPs Westminster leader Ian Blackford. Given that the Scottish economy is still making alot of money out of oil and gas in the North Sea this seems particularly short sighted and counterproductive and perhaps two faced!
The UK Parliamentary Pension Funds single biggest holding is 11.6 million pounds worth of shares in BP. It also owns 10.9 million pounds worth of shares in Royal Dutch Shell.
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “The climate emergency requires that we keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Obviously the oil and gas industry is polluting the atmosphere. However UK industry could not compete or survive if business leaders banned the use of fossil fuels. If we use fossil fuels then it is hypocritical to say we will not invest in oil and gas industries.
The oil and gas industry leaders are themselves moving their investments into low polluting or non polluting alternatives to creating energy and power to drive business and household use. They are acting on climate change for their own good and the good of society.
In addition the UK heavily taxes these fossil fuel businesses. Plus these businesses create hundreds or thousands of jobs and these people pay income tax to support the NHS and other public expenditure.
It is not showing leadership by forcing UK parliament pension trustees to sell shares in fossil fuel business. It hypocritical grandstanding trying to win votes from the public increasingly fearful of climate change.
What would be more impressive and productive would be to encourage fossil fuel businesses to innovate with tax cuts on environmental protection innovation. However that would require real leadership and like most things that are good a short term cost. The long term benefits for the environment the public and the fossil fuel businesses would far outweigh the short term cost.
Instead of grand standing on an environmental protection ticket these MPs could be more effective at leading change.
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