One in three Britons advocate for fossil fuel divestments in pensions, poll finds

Research shows that pension schemes run by UK-based councils collectively hold £16bn of investments in the fossil fuel industry.

According to a poll of 4,000 Britons conducted by DIY investment platform Tillit, one-third of respondents wish for more control over how their pension funds invest, arguing for a fossil fuel free investment portfolio.

The desire to avoid fossil fuel investments is common across all age groups, with 30% of 55 to 64-year-olds and 19% of those over 65 expressing concern.

Furthermore, the desire is even more pronounced among younger generations, with 40% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 44% of 25 to 34-year-olds sharing the same concern.

This comes after research from Friends of the Earth revealed last year that pension schemes run by UK-based councils collectively hold £16bn of investments in the fossil fuel industry, with at least half of this investment being in new oil and gas exploration.

Additionally, earlier this year, an analysis of major UK pension providers found that a majority of these firms have inadequate climate plans is place, risking billions of pounds by failing to phase out financial support for fossil fuels.

Plastic Health Council’s co-founder Sian Sutherland said: “Unknown to many, our hard-earned savings, carefully invested in pensions to protect our old age, are actually funding the destruction of our children’s future. We see it in fossil fuel investments of all kinds – petrochemicals and plastics.

“We need extreme transparency to avoid this as to date it has been nigh impossible to ensure our savings are being used for good.”

Redistributive justice: The fossil fuel tax

In related news, a new report has revealed that implementing a new tax on fossil fuel companies based in the world’s richest economies could generate $720bn in revenue by the decade’s end, which could be used to support the vulnerable nations in managing and mitigating the impacts of climate crisis.

This is according to a report, dubbed as ‘The Climate Damages Tax’, which has been published by a coalition of environmental groups including Greenpeace, Christian Aid, Climate Action Network (CAN), Practical Action and Stamp Out Poverty, among others.

According to research, more than half of the global industrial greenhouse gases (GHG) can be traced back to just 25 corporate and state-owned fossil fuel producers. Additionally, the profits of such companies have surged over the recent period, reaching an unprecedented $4trn in 2022.

The report highlights that fossil fuel companies have not accounted for the negative consequences of their operations, such as global warming and the increased frequency and severity of climatic events, in their costs. As a result, countries and citizens have borne the burden of these losses and damages, necessitating a shift towards holding these companies accountable for their actions.

The Climate Damages Tax (CDT) proposes a fee on the extraction of coal, oil and gas, based on the embedded carbon emissions.

This means that fossil fuel companies, already paying royalties, would contribute additional funds to the Loss and Damage Fund, which focuses on mitigating the impact to economies, infrastructures and societies from climate-induced events.

The report suggests allocating the revenue raised in two ways: assisting the wealthiest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in meeting their financial obligations to the Loss and Damage fund, as agreed at the UN COP28, and generating a “domestic dividend” for national climate action, including support for transitioning away from fossil fuels towards green energy and transport.

The report states: “At the heart of the CDT proposition is the demand for redistributive justice. Those with the greatest historical responsibility for causing climate change, now need to pay for its consequences.”

Comments (2)

  1. Rob Heap says:

    Yes, I’m divested and very happy that I have done so. I did a lot of due diligence and one London based pension provider met my criteria far better than the rest.

  2. Richard Phillips says:

    And they are????

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