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Islington 1 Camden 0: Protesters in fossil fuel protest

Town Hall urged to remove pension fund deposits from gas and coal burners

14 June, 2018 — By Helen Chapman

ENVIRONMENT campaigners met on the borough border in King’s Cross for a stunt aimed at convincing Camden Council to remove its pension fund investments from fossil fuel companies.

On the Camden side of the boundary in Granary Square, demonstrators lay down and wore black on Saturday afternoon, while on the Islington side – where the council is divest­ing – they wore bright colours and celebrated.

Finnain Murtagh, from Divest Camden, said: “The Camden campaign was wearing black to symbolise this is what the policy on the fossil fuel industry is perpetuating around the world.” He added: “We want to really accelerate the transition to a renewable energy system. The campaign aims to stigmatise the fossil fuel industry. It will protect the viability of the fund in the long term since investments in the fossil fuel industry are increasingly financially risky.”

Burning of fossil fuels, such as coal or gas, causes greenhouse gas emissions, blamed for global warming.

Mr Murtagh added: “Islington Council have committed to divest whereas Camden have committed to continue engaging. It is the status quo – what every council has been doing for years.” In its local election manifesto the ruling Labour Party in Camden pledged to campaign for low-carbon investment and to challenge the behaviour of companies, but did not promise, as the party did in Islington, to divest.

Mr Murtagh said: “Our view is that a low-carbon option is not sufficient as it doesn’t fully break links with the fossil fuel industry and doesn’t stigmatise it in the manner required to motivate a zero-carbon transition.

Labour councillor Rishi Madlani said: “We have been engaging with Divest Camden and Unison about anything we do around investment and pooling investment. “En­gagement with the local pension forum is the best way to get companies to change their behaviour. We have already achieved reduced London carbon emissions and will continue to do so. We will work with other boroughs.”

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