Taking the Lead for Action on Climate Change

Last night was the Full Council at Rushcliffe Borough, and your elected Rushcliffe Borough Labour Councillors were all present!

But more importantly – Cllr Jen Walker put forward a motion regarding Fossil Fuels.

In her speech Cllr Walker spoke about how fossil fuels will become increasingly financially risky: “International efforts to reduce carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change means the majority of known fossil fuel reserves cannot be exploited and must be left ‘in the ground’. The market value of fossil fuel companies is based largely on the notion that all known reserves can be exploited. Understanding that they cannot be is growing quickly and the point fast approaching where most reserves will be rendered valueless- becoming ’stranded assets’. At this point there will be a large reduction in the share prices of fossil fuel companies.”

During a thought-provoking moment, she asked members to cast their minds ahead to her daughter’s 75th birthday and imagine what they think the world would look like: “If they were like me, the world in their heads was not a pleasant one. Shrinking glaciers, bleached coral reefs, mass extinction, drought, unpredictable weather, etc… I asked them to offer another vision, one that other councils could follow.”

Fellow Labour Councillor Mike Gaunt, seconded the motion – focusing on the risks to the Council of not divesting from fossil fuels. He talked about the unsustainable future for traditional fossil fuels and how investments in these would become increasingly risky in the future. He spoke about recent research by the University of Nottingham and the British Geological Survey which suggests reserves in shale gas in the UK may be substantially lower than previously expected. He then pointed out to the meeting that the FTSE suggests that portfolios that exclude fossil fuels compete as well as, if not better, than those that include them. Cllr Gaunt concluded that to continue to invest in unsustainable fossil fuels was extremely risky to the Borough.

By unanimously approving this motion, Rushcliffe Borough Council has agreed to:

  1. Conduct an immediate audit of all its investments to ascertain the current level of fossil fuel equity investments.
  2. Conduct an immediate audit of the carbon footprint of its operational assets through its Carbon Reduction Work Programme.
  3. Rushcliffe will immediately incorporate in its Environmental Plans the reduction of the use, and future investment in, fossil fuels wherever possible.

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