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A guest article by James Cracknell, written in response to Sadiq Khan's call for all London local authorities to divest their pension funds from fossil fuel companies

Divest Enfield

When it comes to environmental problems, shifts in attitude can happen incredibly quickly.

Diesel was once heralded by car companies as a 'green' alternative fuel to petrol and drivers for years were conned into buying vehicles that ran on it. Evidence now shows this was a huge mistake – and politicians have been fast to act. Diesel will soon be history.

Plastic waste has been a problem for decades, polluting water and choking wildlife. It has taken a regrettably long time for this problem to be recognised, but since shocking images of ocean plastic were seen by 13 million Blue Planet II viewers last year, political leaders have been falling over themselves to show that they want to put an end to the scourge of plastic packaging. A deposit scheme for plastic bottles will now soon be implemented.

And then we come to fossil fuel divestment. For years local authorities have carried on as normal, investing millions in companies that are directly responsible for man-made climate change. But we are starting to see a shift in public opinion. Last week, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan himself called on all local authorities in the capital to “join me in taking their pension funds out of companies that can damage the planet and lead to climate change”. The Greater London Authority is now leading the way, and it seems inevitable that others will follow, creating the same snowball effect we have seen on diesel and plastic.

Divest Enfield is calling on Enfield Council to ditch the £60million it has invested in fossil fuels via  its pension fund. Now, with the Mayor of London on our side, we will be emailing candidates for the forthcoming local elections on 3rd May to demand they sign the divestment pledge.

I have no doubt that in 20 years' time people will be shocked to know that local authorities like Enfield Council were investing millions of pounds in fossil fuels. In the year 2018, when countries around the world are feeling the affects of man-made climate change, it is simply indefensible that taxpayers' money could be invested in coal, oil and gas. It's now a question of if, not when, these investments are ended.

To sign our petition go to campaigns.gofossilfree.org/p/divestenfield and if you'd like to get involved in the campaign yourself email .

James Cracknell (@JollyJourno) is a journalist who lives in Southgate and was the initiator of the Divest Enfield campaign.

Links

Mayor calls for boroughs to ditch fossil fuel investment (Mayor of London press release, 26 March 2018)

Help persuade Enfield Council to divest from fossil fuels (Palmers Green Community, 6 January 2018)

Divest Enfield online petition

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