Divestment Day of Action: Protests across the UK urge investors to stop investing in the climate crisis
- More than 30 groups across the UK expected to join “Divest from Crisis” day of action on Friday 24 March
- Protests taking place in Glasgow and Edinburgh city centres alongside actions in Argyll, Melrose and Galashiels
- Campaign reveals over 50 councils now support divestment from fossil fuel motions
Councils, pension funds and financial institutions are being urged to take action to simultaneously address the crises of fuel poverty, climate breakdown and energy security by fossil fuel divestment groups across the UK today (Friday 24 March).
Over 30 groups across the country are expected to join today’s Divest from Crisis day of action, which has been organised by environmental justice organisations Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and NI), Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform.
Over 50 local councils have now formally backed divestment from fossil fuels, with the most recent support coming from Rother District Council last month.
In 2021, the UK pensions industry was estimated to invest £128bn into the fossil fuel companies that are driving the crisis. Meanwhile, the UK’s biggest banks have invested tens of billions into fossil fuel expansion projects set to tip global heating well beyond safe limits.
With millions of households across the country struggling to pay soaring energy bills driven by the nation’s fossil fuel dependency, campaign groups are calling on investors to divest from expensive and unstable fossil fuels and boost investment in affordable and future-proof renewables.
In Edinburgh a theatrical protest takes place outside the City Chambers at noon whilst in Glasgow a musical-themed rally is planned for Saturday. Vigils, stalls and online actions are planned elsewhere in Scotland, including in Melrose, led by the youth network Fridays for Future.
Events are also taking place in London, Manchester, Gwynedd, Nottinghamshire, Tyne and Wear, Greater Leicestershire, Warwickshire, East Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. All events are organised by local grassroots groups. A list of events and contact details are in the notes below.
Sally Clark, divestment campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
“In the last year many of us have been unable to afford to heat our homes and watched in horror as the climate crisis intensified, with floods tearing through Pakistan, drought devastating the Horn of Africa and storms surging through the US, Japan and Mauritius.
“The spiralling cost of living and the breakdown of the global climate are both symptoms of an unstable and unjust energy system, founded on fossil fuels.
“This is a fossil fuel crisis, and it will only intensify if we don’t divest from fossil fuels and invest for a liveable future.
“Investors like local council pension funds are gambling billions on fossil fuels, propping up a broken energy system when they could be investing in warmer homes, renewable energy, and helping drive the transition to a liveable and just future.
“The scores of protests taking place across the UK today shows how much support there is for action for a fossil free future.”
Stephen Smellie is Depute Convenor of UNISON Scotland, representing local government workers. He said:
“UNISON members care about how their pension pots are invested.
“Firstly, we want to ensure that our pensions are safe for the future. Fossil fuels are not a safe investment for the future.
“Secondly, we care about the future of the environment and fossil fuels are responsible for destroying it.
“We have demonstrated that, as the members of pension funds, we want to be consulted on how our money is invested and we would call on pension funds to do that.”