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MSPs call on Scottish Parliament to end investment in fossil fuels

Friends of the Earth Scotland has gained signatures from several MSPs calling for an end to fossil fuel investments for Holyrood's pension fund.
Friends of the Earth Scotland has gained signatures from several MSPs calling for an end to fossil fuel investments for Holyrood's pension fund.

A group of MSPs have called on the Scottish Parliament to end its investment in fossil fuels.

Friends of the Earth Scotland said the Holyrood pension pot invests more than £1m in oil, gas and coal companies, which it is seeking to end in response to the “climate emergency”.

Fourteen MSPs and one former member, including two representing regions of north-east Scotland, have signed a pledge in support of the environmental group’s Divest Scotland campaign.

It comes ahead of a meeting of MSPs tomorrow to discuss the pension fund, which the campaign group said invests in firms including Shell, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

A spokesman for the Scottish Parliament said the investment strategy is in the process of being reviewed.

No Scottish Conservative or current SNP members have signed the pledge at time of writing, which seeks to divest from fossil fuels “over an appropriate time-scale”.

The move comes amid renewed pressure on oil and gas firms to reduce their emissions and Scottish Government plans to move the country to a low carbon economy.

North East Labour member Jenny Marra, who has long campaigned for oil and gas decommissioning jobs to come to Dundee, signed the pledge.

Independent member for Aberdeen Donside Mark McDonald also signed after continuously calling for more UK Government support for oil and gas in 2016.

Friends of the Earth Scotland divestment campaigner Rick Lander said: “People across Scotland are demanding urgent action to address the climate emergency.

“MSPs can respond by putting their own house in order, divesting their own pension fund from fossil fuels and making a commitment to investing in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“This simple, practical step by MSPs would send a strong message that they are willing to bank on a greener Scotland that’s fairer and healthier for people and planet.”

The Scottish Government intends to reduce the county’s carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “The Fund Trustees are in the process of reviewing the scheme investment strategy and will discuss it at their next meeting.

“This will include consideration of investments in fossil fuel companies.

“A final decision about the scheme investment strategy will be made in due course.”

Climate change was also high on the agenda for energy majors Shell and BP at their recent AGMs, with both being the subject of environmental protests.

A similar divestment campaign has also been carried out for the Westminster pension fund, backed by more than 250MPs.

The pledge for the Scottish Parliament campaign states: “I pledge to support the Scottish Government and Parliament divesting from fossil fuels and investing in a just transition to a zero carbon economy over an appropriate time-scale.”

See a full list of the MSPs who signed below:

-Alex Cole-Hamilton / Liberal Democrat / Edinburgh Western

-Alison Johnstone / Scottish Green Party / Lothian

-Andy Wightman / Scottish Green Party / Lothian

-Claudia Beamish / Scottish Labour / South Scotland

-Claire Baker / Scottish Labour / Mid Scotland and Fife

-Daniel Johnson / Scottish Labour / Edinburgh Southern

– Jackie Baillie / Scottish Labour / Dumbarton

-Jenny Marra / Scottish Labour / North East Scotland

-Scotland John Finnie / Scottish Green Party / Highlands & Islands

-Iain Gray / Scottish Labour / East Lothian

-Marco Biagi / Scottish National Party / former MSP for Edinburgh Central

– Mark McDonald / Independent / Aberdeen Donside

-Patrick Harvie / Scottish Green Party / Glasgow

-Rhoda Grant / Scottish Labour / Highlands & Islands

-Ross Greer / Scottish Green Party / West Scotland

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