divestment day

Ten months before the Paris climate conference, international civil society has decided to target investors and financial institutions to shut off the tap on an energy model which leads us straight to the wall, as public decision makers continue to subsidize the production and exploration of fossil fuels . On February 13 and 14, global divestment day, 350.org, Attac and Friends of the Earth France launch their campaign in France, demanding the Reserve fund for pensions (Fonds de  réserve pour les retraites) and French banks divest from fossil fuels.

As well as melting glaciers, desertification, ocean acidification and acceleration of extreme climate events, climate change threatens to increase food insecurity, epidemics, migration and even  risks of war. Millions of people already suffer from the impacts of climatic changes. Faced with the incapacity of decision makers to adopt the necessary measures to reduce carbon emissions, international civil society has decided to appeal  to investors and financial institutions to disengage from the fossil fuels sector, the main motor of climate deregulation.

Despite the urgent need to rapidly diminish our energy consumption and to substitute energy efficiency and renewables for fossil fuels, the sector continues to extract and burn more fossil fuel each year. There is a similar enthusiasm to act in contradiction with the need to fight climatic changes by public decision makers: after committing themselves to putting an end to their subsidies of fossil fuels, which reached 300 billion dollars in 2009, member countries of the G20 still supported this sector with as much as 523 billion dollars in 2012! And in 2013, they dedicated 88 billion to the exploration of new reserves!

Confronted with the schizophrenia of decision makers and private companies, 350.org, Attac, Friends of the Earth France and their international partners have decided to launch campaigns demanding divestment from the fossil fuels sector. Reserve funds for pensions, local authorities and private banks play a major role in the maintenance of an energy model based on fossil fuels, but are able to arrest the trend by redirecting their investments and financing towards energy efficiency and renewable energies.

The battle is far from being won: quitting the exploitation of the known reserves of carbon, gas and petrol would represent an income loss of 27 billion dollars for the fossil fuel industry. French banks have financed the sole carbon sector up to 30 billion euros between 2005 and April 2014. The reserve fund for pensions, which depends on the Caisse des Dépots, has invested more than 2.6 billion euros in shares and bonds in companies active in the fossil fuel sector. If we only include those which are listed among the 200 most polluting companies on the planet, these investments amount to 920 billion euros.

On February 13 and 14, global civil society will launch this battle, with an international call for divestment, relayed in France by the NGOs.