Submitted by ian on Wed, 06/10/2021 - 16:06

Brent Council's Pensions Subcommittee met last night (5th October 2021) and considered the 'Roadmap' to divestment from fossil fuels. Here is Simon Erskine's statement on the decisions they came to, and the next steps that are needed.

 

Divest brent logo

In the struggle to achieve Net Zero (i.e. carbon emissions created from transport, power, agriculture etc. being balanced by carbon absorbed through growing trees, direct air capture of CO2 etc.) companies need to play a key role in reducing emissions from their activities. Switching investments from companies responsible for large emissions to companies with low or negative emissions encourages the transition to Net Zero.

One of the biggest classes of investors is pension funds – for example Brent Council’s Pension Fund owns investments in excess of £1 billion. For 5 years Divest Brent has been campaigning for the Council to sell its investments in (“divest from”) fossil fuel companies. Following the presentation to the Council of a divestment petition with nearly 1,400 signatures the Council agreed to draw up a roadmap to this goal.

On 5th October the Pension Fund Sub-committee considered the “Net Zero Transition Roadmap”. It was acknowledged that the Roadmap was a start – the Pension Fund needed to agree a target date for achieving Net Zero and then draw up interim targets e.g. a 2030 Net Zero target with interim targets of 40% emissions reductions by 2024 and 70% by 2027. The Paris Agreement of 2016 calls for a maximum average global temperature increase of 2 degrees Centigrade compared to pre-industrial levels, with a target of 1.5 degrees (compared to the current increase of 1.1 degrees).

According to the UN’s climate change scientific body, the IPCC, in a 2018 report, that means Net Zero by 2050 with a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030. Since that report was issued the pace of climate change has dramatically increased with massive wildfires, record hurricanes and typhoons, lethal heatwaves, floods (including flooding in Brent itself) and so on. Furthermore, in declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency in 2019, the Council agreed a Net Zero Target of 2030. Councillors at the Pension Fund Sub-committee spoke out against the Pension Fund adopting a 2050 Net Zero target and asked about the impact of a 2030 target – in line with the Council’s own position.

Officers pointed out that the London Collective Investment Vehicle, which managed many investments of London local authority pension funds, including much of Brent’s, has adopted a 2040 date and suggested it may be appropriate for Brent’s Pension Fund to follow suit.

Simon Erskine, of Divest Brent, commented: “We welcome the Roadmap as a first step towards decarbonising the Brent Pension Fund. Choosing a responsible Net Zero target date is crucial. Many people are saying that the many extreme climate events, which are already responsible for huge loss of life, homelessness and damage to property – along with species disappearing at an alarming rate (around 50% over the last 50 years) – demonstrate that we need to achieve Net Zero by 2025. The Council itself has agreed on a 2030 target and in our view that should apply to the Pension Fund too unless there is clear evidence that it would damage the Fund.”

Following approval of the report the Council will now work hard evaluating the effect of different targets, both for Net Zero and for interim emission reductions. These will be considered at the next meeting of the Pension Fund Sub-committee in February 2022.

 

 

Bunting stall in Queens Park

Submitted by ian on Mon, 18/10/2021 - 10:22

The final of our stalls making bunting with messages to send to COP26 took place outside the Queens Park Farmers' Market on October 17th.

It was a lively event, with adults and children joining in enthusiastically to decorate bunting pennants which will stay up outside Salusbury School for a while.

Below are some photos from the event, as well as a short video compiled by Martin Francis.

 

 

Bunting from Tulip Siddiq MP
Bunting from Tulip Siddiq MP

Brent FoE Flood and Nature Walk 26th September - report and pics

Submitted by ian on Tue, 28/09/2021 - 11:10

Nineteen people turned up for our walk along the Wealdstone Brook and River Brent, looking at the way this natural feature had been built upon and hidden, and highlighting the possible danger of flooding as climate change continues.

Martin Francis pointed out the route of the waterways, sometimes hidden under high tower blocks, with further development ongoing. Some parts of the walk took us through harsh concrete landscapes, some through much more pleasant environments, with well-used open spaces and some attractive meadowland (though in some places it was apparent that the invasive Japanese Knotweed still posed a threat).

The group paused at the pleasant shingle riverbank, where people made paper boats, which were adorned with messages about climate change, and launched into the water. Martin was also on hand to catch the boats downstream in his nets. Other boats made by Cllr Janice Long and Ruth Kitching, will be sent to Glasgow to be incorporated into an installation to be erected outside the COP26 meetings.

A more detailed account of the walk and issues behind it can be found on Martin's blog here.

Photos below are by Barney Laurance:

 

Martin talking

Our bunting stalls in Harlesden and Wembley

Submitted by ian on Fri, 10/09/2021 - 19:31

Here are some pictures from our stall in Harlesden on 10th September and Wembley on 25th September. Lots of engagement with people of all  ages - children were particularly keen to send a message about what should be done to stop climate change. More reporting and pictures at https://wembleymatters.blogspot.com/2021/09/harlesden-sends-resounding-….

 Next stall on October 17th in Queens Park. Details on front page.

 

Harlesden:

bunting8   bunting3