MPs urge parliamentary pension scheme to divest from fossil fuels amid COP26

Over 130 cross-party MPs have signed a letter calling on Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) trustees to divest the scheme from the fossil fuel industry amid COP26.

In the call for divestment, led by MP for Coventry South, Zarah Sultana, signatories argued that as hosts of COP26, the UK has "a responsibility to rise to this challenge, showing leadership on the world’s stage”.

It also pointed out that fossil fuel companies have been barred from official COP26 engagements in light of the view that they do not align with global climate goals, yet parliamentary pensions, without further divestment, are contributing to temperatures rising above 1.5°C.

Indeed, the letter warned that if this limit is exceeded, a “full-blown climate catastrophe” will have struck by the time younger members are old enough to draw their pensions.

PCPF previously announced plans to reduce its investment in fossil fuels in 2020, alongside a commitment to invest 5 per cent of scheme assets in renewable energy, with the letter from MPs pointing out that divestment would be complementarity to these recent positive actions.

However, whilst the group acknowledged the steps that the scheme has taken to respond to the climate emergency already, it argued that trustees "must go a step further, divesting from the fossil fuel industry in its entirety, as quickly as possible".

The letter said: “The call to divest the PCPF from the fossil fuel industry has been backed by more than 360 current and former members, from right across the political spectrum.

"It is recognised that as elected representatives, we have a responsibility to show leadership on the climate emergency and ensure that our pensions are not funding climate disaster.

“Let us get our house in order by aligning our pension investment with a green and prosperous zero carbon future that helps to contain global heating to below 1.5°C.

“The world’s eyes are on us. It is time that we show true leadership and divest parliament from the fossil fuel industry.”

The 132 signatories to the letter included Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Jonathan Reynolds, and Green MP, Caroline Lucas, who previously led a campaign urging the PCPF to commit to phasing out fossil fuel investments in 2019.

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