Divest from Carbon Campaign – Save our future, save our planet

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2019 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2019

Conference recognises the real threat of climate change to our planet.

According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1C of global warming above pre-industrial levels.

The Paris Agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by ‘limiting global warming to well below 2C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5C. In order to prevent further global warming of more than 1.5C global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide need to fall by about 45% from 2010 by 2030, they would need to peak within 12 years (by 2030) to increase the chances of limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees.

Emission reductions in the UK since 2012 have primarily come from the decarbonisation of electricity generation in the power sector at a national level which is shifting progressively from fossil fuels to low carbon and renewable generation. To maintain the current rate of emissions reduction and reach zero carbon by 2050, further changes to national policy and infrastructure are required in all sectors. And to reach net zero carbon by an earlier date, rapid and widescale changes in energy production, supply and usage at the national level are needed.

Conference notes the actions of many school children who have protested to put pressure on local authorities and others to take urgent and meaningful action to halt global warming by 2030.

Some councils are declaring a climate emergency to publicly acknowledge the efforts that need to be made now and to set out a positive programme of change to tackle the climate change crisis.

Conference notes UNISON’s Divest from Carbon Campaign that seeks promote disinvestment of local government pension funds to reduce shareholdings in emission-producing industries. While we applaud this initiative we recognise that making these arguments is currently an uphill struggle for our representatives on pension boards. We want to be part of a trade union movement that makes a real difference to this campaign so that we can both reduce carbon emissions and ensure that our pension funds continue to fund our pensions for current and future generations.

We ask that the Divest from Carbon Campaign is widened to include:

1) Information for our members on divestment and other strategies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,

2) On-going training for representatives on pension boards to be able to make the arguments for divestment and for alternative investments,

3) Training including workshops on how to influence pension boards and annual monitoring and reporting on progress made.