Boris rejects City Hall fossil fuel divestment

Boris Johnson has rejected a motion from the London assembly calling for City Hall's £4.8bn pension fund to be divested from fossil fuels.

The Mayor of London said that divestment was a “sudden cliff edge” and that a more gradual transition away from fossil fuels was needed.

Johnson reportedly wrote to the chair of the Assembly saying that Britain could reduce reliance on fossil fuels by “exploiting our own domestic energy reserves and exploring the potential for fracking in the UK”.

The announcement was greeted by a wave of criticism from green groups, with WWF-UK describing it as “surprising and disappointing”.

Ben Stafford, WWF-UK head of public affairs, said: “Every investment in fossil fuels takes vital capital away from the growing renewable energy industry. There is overwhelming evidence that we are exposed to economic as well as environmental risk if we continue to burn fossil fuels.

“It is unfortunate that the Mayor has not listened to the London Assembly on this issue. We hope that trustees of the pension fund will take a different view and realise the economic threats to their pensioners’ assets by retaining fossil fuel investments.”

‘Kick in the teeth’

The motion was presented back in March by the Green party’s Jenny Jones and was unanimously supported by Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Only three of nine Conservative assembly members were present for the vote and all three voted against.

The campaign group Divest London described Johnson’s decision as a “kick in the teeth” for Londoners and the London Assembly.

A Facebook post from the group said: “After a near unanimous vote for divestment at the Assembly, thousands of Londoners on his case and clear evidence about the devastating impact unmitigated climate change and the carbon bubble could have on London; the Mayor sided with the fossil fuel industry.

The group is now planning a protest this weekend, following previous demonstrations outside the Mayor’s offices.


Londoners united at City Hall today to call on Boris to break up with fossil fuels this Valentine’s Day.WATCH a timelapse of some of the amazing action below! #GlobalDivestmentDay #divest

Posted by Divest London on Saturday, 14 February 2015

The rejection is the second major blow for the global divestment campaign this week after Edinburgh University decided not to fully divest its endowment from fossil fuels on Tuesday.

Brad Allen

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