Daniel Zeichner has said that elected representatives must “practice what they preach” when he joined the first MPs to sign the pledge to divest the MPs’ pension fund – worth £612m in assets – from fossil fuels.
In 2016 alone, the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) invested millions of Pounds of public money in fossil fuel companies – including £5.59m in BP and £4.9m in Shell. Since the value of both companies’ stock is based on their entire fossil fuel reserves and not just the small percentage that can be used safely, these investments are both high in risk and incompatible with the Government’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
The move comes as campaigners in Cambridge step up efforts to divest from fossil fuels. In January 2017, Cambridge University academics voted to divest its £5.8bn endowment in fossil fuels but executives have refused to implement the governing body’s carbon divestment motion within the next twelve months. Student societies like Cambridge Zero Carbon are still campaigning for the change.
In 2015, Cambridge City Council voted to divest its assets from fossil fuels and campaigners in Fossil Free Cambridgeshire are now calling on the County Council to follow suit.
Daniel Zeichner said: “I am proud to sign the pledge to divest the parliamentary pension scheme from fossil fuels. Elected representatives need the moral authority to be able to legislate for green energy to stop climate change and signing the pledge shows that we are willing to practice what we preach.”