Evidence ignored by Conservative cabinet on fossil fuel divestment

8 July 2020

Dear Editor,

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils on Monday (7th July) announced a number of measures to help councils to become carbon neutral by 2030. Sadly, the administration ignored the evidence and refused divestment from the fossil fuel companies. Conveniently, we can forget the decades that this industry has spent lobbying governments against taking climate action and cooking up climate denial. Now, we are told, fossil fuel companies are coming to our rescue by investing in “new energies” including ‘low-carbon’ electricity investments, hydrogen and biofuel.

Among oil companies, Shell is considered a leader in green energy projects. Despite boasting plans to invest $6 bn (US) between 2016 and 2020, Shell has committed only $2 bn to green energy in that period. In the same four years, Shell spent $120 bn on developing more fossil fuel projects*. Oil company investments in renewables are tiny compared to those in fossil fuels and those companies continue to spend their efforts fanning the flames of a climate change nightmare.

In their full cabinet meeting, finance members spent more time defending fossil fuels than talking-up green energy projects or community renewables. Our citizens simply deserve better. Many of the council’s proposals to reduce carbon emissions are well-intentioned but we need local authorities to put their money where their mouth is and lead by a better moral example.

Dr Daniel Pratt (Green Councillor, Mid Suffolk District Council)

*Figures reported in The Guardian published 3rd January 2020 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/jan/03/royal-dutch-shell-may-fail-to-reach-green-energy-targets

 Published in EADT 8/7/2020

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