UN Secretary General to Pension Funds: Divest From Fossil Fuels

field of wind mills

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented its latest report on climate change over the weekend.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attended, and he used the opportunity to urge the world’s pension funds to begin divesting from fossil fuel investments.

From a 350.org press release:

At a press conference in Copenhagen yesterday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged big investors such as pension funds and insurance companies to reduce their investments in fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy instead.

“I have been urging companies like pension funds or insurance companies to reduce their investments in a fossil-fuel based economy [and shift] to renewable sources of energy,” said Ban Ki-Moon. He joins a growing list of distinguished high-level figures calling for fossil fuel divestment such as UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and US President Barack Obama.

Ki-moon made his comments during the presentation of the latest summary of climate science in the form of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) fifth assessment report. The report strengthens the case for fossil fuel divestment by stating that “substantial reductions in emissions would require large changes in investment patterns”.

May Boeve, Executive Director of the global climate campaign 350.org commented, “The report strengthens the case for fossil fuel divestment. It clearly states that the vast majority of coal, oil and gas must remain underground and that investments in the sector must fall by tens of billions of dollars a year. The fossil fuel industry’s business plan and a liveable planet are simply incompatible.”

Ban Ki-moon’s endorsement is the latest sign of growing momentum for the fossil fuel divestment movement. Fossil fuel divestment campaigns at more than 500 institutions around the world ask local authorities, universities, pension funds, religious and medical institutions to drop their investments in coal, oil and gas companies.

Sweden’s largest pension fund announced in October plans to divest from $116 million of fossil fuel investments.

Many pension funds are being pressured to take similar action, but funds have instead expressed interest in using their power as shareholders to bring change from within companies.


Photo by Penagate via Flickr CC