CARMARTHENSHIRE Councillors today, Wednesday (Oct 9), voted to divest from fossil fuel companies within two years.
THE motion tabled by the Carmarthenshire Labour, called on the £2.5bn Dyfed Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuel companies, the most ambitious plan for a Welsh local authority.
A similar motion calling on Cardiff & Vale Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels within five years was passed by Cardiff Council in July.
The motion coincides with environmental protests in central London where thousands of activists are seeking to pressure UK Government in tackling Climate Change.
During the meeting, Carmarthenshire Energy Chair, Greg Parker, outlined an alternative to funding fossil fuels through a question to the Chair of the Dyfed Pension Fund Committee, noting that investing in solar and battery capacity could result in energy independence within twelve years, with a significant return for policy holders.
Speaking in the debate, Labour Leader, Cllr Rob James stated “You can’t declare a climate emergency and carry on investing in the very companies that are responsible for the climate crisis.
“It is important to note that the Pension Fund policy holders will not suffer as a result of this bold agenda. In fact, we believe they will be financially better off. Lancashire County Council have invested £12 million in the UK’s largest community owned solar farm, with a projected 11% annual return.
“Carmarthenshire Council have just a few levers to pull to support the effort in tackling climate change. This is the biggest and most important one. We must put our money where our mouth is.
“We must take radical action before we face the full, and devastating force of a climate catastrophe.”
Nia Griffith MP added, “”The climate emergency needs bold action so I very much hope that Plaid Cymru Councillors will join Labour Councillors in giving full support to divesting from fossil fuels, as indeed I have done with the parliamentary pension fund. It is too late for half measures. We all need to be doing as much as we can to tackle climate change: that is why Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is today announcing that a future Labour Government would increase investment in off-shore wind fivefold, along with investment in other renewables like tidal.”
The motion will now go before Dyfed Pension Fund Committee for consideration.