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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

How you can help Scotland go fossil free

This opinion piece is about 6 years old

Sally Clark says it's time for the country to free itself from fossil fuels

“Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it.” - Bill McKibben

Would you like to be part of a global movement of universities, faith groups, campaigners, charities and entire cities who are all making a real difference to the fight against climate change? Welcome to the fossil free team!

As someone who was constantly bemused by maths at school, I never imagined that I would become passionate about pension fund investments. Nevertheless, this is exactly what happened in June last year when I attended a Divest Parliament training weekend in London.

The weekend turned out to be life-changing as it helped me to meet amazing volunteers from across the UK who are working to encourage politicians, local councils and institutions to divest (or disinvest) from fossil fuel companies.

Why is divestment so important?

Divestment is vital because when 195 countries signed the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, they agreed to keep global warming well below 2° to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Sally Clark

it is morally wrong to continue investing in the companies whose core business model is driving climate change

Sally Clark

If we are to meet this target, 80% of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground and so we cannot keep investing in oil, gas and coal companies who continue to dig for more reserves.

So far, 852 institutions and over 58,000 individuals have pledged to divest more than $6 trillion away from fossil fuels.

By doing this, they are sending a clear message that it is morally wrong and financially risky to continue investing in the companies whose core business model is driving climate change.

How Scotland is blazing a trail in divestment

Glasgow was the first UK university to divest and has now been joined by Edinburgh, Abertay, UWS, Queen Margaret and Glasgow Caledonian. The United Reformed Church has also committed to divest.

As a volunteer with the Divest Parliament Scotland team, I have seen a rapid number of Westminster MPs realise that is morally wrong to be profiting from climate change through their pension. 10 days ago, we announced that all seven Glasgow MPs have signed a pledge to divest the MPs Pension Fund from fossil fuels!

Last week, Mhairi Black (SNP), Danielle Rowley (Labour) and Jamie Stone (Liberal Democrat), became the latest Scottish MPs to join the campaign.

Sadly, it’s not all good news as Scottish councils are still investing billions in fossil fuel companies while many Scottish universities and the Church of Scotland are still reluctant to go fossil free.

What you can do

If you would like to get more involved in the campaign, we would love your help and there are lots of things you can do.

1. Email your MP asking them to sign the Divest Parliament pledge or become a regional organiser in Scotland to support constituents to pressure their MP via [email protected]

2. Support a local divestment campaign:There are several very active Fossil Free groups in Scotland, including Fossil Free Glasgow, Divest Lothian, Fossil Free Dundee and Fossil Free Aberdeen. These groups warmly welcome new members and many of them have petitions you can sign and share.

3. Contact your councillors directly via the Friends of the Earth local government divestment campaign tool.

4. Ask the Church of Scotland to divest.

Sally Clark is a member of Glasgow Friends of the Earth.