Next meeting: Wednesday Feb 11th, 7pm on-line - Please Contact Laura Smith on email@example.com.
In 2019 Babergh District Council declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to try and reach net zero by 2030. This means every single Council policy has to be scrutinised to see if it progresses that goal.
Members of the Council’s Audit & Standards Committee, who are responsible for the Council’s financial governance, all agreed to recommend to the Council’s Cabinet that it ask its fund managers to stop investing in oil and gas shares and transfer the monies into low carbon funds. The Council’s Environment Directorate reinforced this by stating that if the net zero goal was to be achieved, Babergh shouldn’t hold any investments in fossil fuel extraction businesses.
The Cabinet has decided to ignore all this advice and not sell its investments but ‘monitor’ the situation and consider changing at an undefined, appropriate time.
Green Party Councillor Robert Lindsay, who sat as a member of the Audit & Standards Committee, commented, "this is £11 million of council tax payers’ money, and it is our duty as Councillors to protect it.”
“The facts are UK public pension funds have lost £2bn on their oil investments in the past four years. This year, oil and gas companies will make profits as energy prices rocket but the losses can’t be recovered. BP, one of the shares Babergh has invested in, wrote off the value of its oil and gas assets by a total of $6.5bn last year after slashing its expectations for oil prices over the long term. Most City investors now agree with former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney that all fossil fuel extraction stocks are now high-risk investments that will plummet in value as renewables take the place of fossil fuel. This will leave Babergh sitting on heavy losses."
He added, "Apparently Council Leader John Ward and his Cabinet know better than these experts. Cabinet members sit and talk and follow the example of Mr Micawber, ‘something will turn up.’ They are demonstrating yet again that either there is something about the word “emergency” they do not understand, or that they simply do not believe it is caused by fossil fuel emissions. They are putting £11m of residents’ money at risk which I cannot support. I have resigned from the Audit & Standards Committee and will be devoting the time freed up to supporting my residents."