EXTINCTION Rebellion has opened a new front - a campaign to force pension money out of fossil fuel and into renewable energy and other green enterprises.

ER says many people are unaware their money is invested in fossil fuels - not by themselves, but by their employer, to pay for their pension when they retire.

Many local public sector organisations, from councils to schools to voluntary organisations, use Hampshire Pension Fund to look after the pension savings of their staff. The pension fund has enormous investments in fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion Winchester is one of several local groups who want to see transformative changes to Hampshire Pension Fund’s investments.

On Friday July 24 they launched their Dirty Money campaign with a short film and a survey https://xrwinchester.org.uk/dirty-money-campaign-launch.html

Dirty Money aims to demonstrate how risky it is to have pensions invested in coal, oil, and other dirty fuels, arguing the value of these shares is going down and that the share price is based on the myth that companies like Shell and BP will be able to extract lots more oil that’s still underground. But when this is prohibited, because of the impact on global heating, many analysts think that share prices will collapse.

“People don’t realise that their money is making climate change even worse”, said Phil Joyce of Extinction Rebellion Winchester. “We’re asking anyone whose employer is part of the Hampshire Pension Fund to fill out the survey, so they call for the Pension Fund to invest responsibly. We want to see a swift shift to investment in renewable energies, pressure applied on fund managers to clean up their investments and greater transparency around how the pension fund is invested.”

Earlier this year, Hampshire Pension Fund sent a short note on what they call “Responsible Investment” to everyone who is already drawing a pension from the fund. “Unfortunately, it was impossible to understand. I’ve offered to rewrite it for them into plain English so that people can see what their savings are being used for”, said the co-ordinator of the Hampshire Pension Fund action group, open to anyone who has money in the fund. The group is pressing for the fund to contact everyone, not only the people who are already drawing their pension but also the people whose employers are paying money in each month.

“They should all be told what’s going on and asked for their views”, said Mr Joyce.

To find out more, visit https://xrwinchester.org.uk/dirty-money-campaign-launch.html or email HPF.divest@gmail.com.