North Yorkshire pension fund should cut fossil fuel ties – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Dr Margaret Jackson, Co-ordinator, Fossil Free North Yorkshire.

Should North Yorkshire County Council be investing in fossil fuel firms?

FOLLOWING the landmark legal challenge last week that has forced Royal Dutch Shell to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to meet global climate goals, we at Fossil Free North Yorkshire want to see North Yorkshire County Council pension fund move its investments away from climate-wrecking fossil fuel companies.

We, therefore, wholeheartedly support the council’s decision to allocate £450m to infrastructure investments over the next five years, and we believe that it is vital that the fund allocates a high proportion of this £450m to green infrastructure funds (rather than simply investing in traditional infrastructure projects that, for example, may include airports and oil pipelines).

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It is very heartening that the City of York agrees with this viewpoint and has recently unanimously voted to call on the fund to invest at least £120m of this capital into green infrastructure projects. We should all support this approach.

Furthermore, we are calling for such investments to be in green projects in Yorkshire. This will help create jobs and ‘good’ economic growth across Yorkshire, all while providing a positive return on investment.

Sadly, North Yorkshire’s pension fund continues to invest £33m in fossil fuels. Whilst this amount has reduced over recent years, it is surprising that the pensions of local people continue to be used by the county council to prop up the industry that is most responsible for the climate crisis. The more so, when the recent poor performance of fossil fuel investments is taken into account. And it is expected that these investments will perform increasingly badly as the world transitions to sustainable energy.

There is a great opportunity here for North Yorkshire to lead a regeneration towards a thriving and low carbon local economy. Let us hope the council grasps the opportunity with both hands.

Our economy needs to unlock

From: Keith Massey, Bishopthorpe, York.

WITH only days away from an announcement from Boris Johnson and the Government as to whether to open up from restrictions of Covid-19, I can only hope for a positive answer as it is vital for the economy – nobody mentions this word these days.

This lockdown syndrome cannot continue – it’s causing severe mental health problems. The doom-monger pundits of scientists, doctors and public health seem to be raising their heads above the parapet, yet again, to instil fear and anxiety.

They have their 15 minutes of fame and control and they seem very reluctant to allow us freedom. It is all right for them on full pay and big public purse pensions.

The communications from government has always been ‘to protect the NHS’. Well we have saved the NHS hospitals from being overwhelmed by coronavirus and the frontline staff have been incredible, but what about the millions of others suffering health issues who can’t be seen by many GPs face-to-face?

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