Over 100 healthcare workers from across the UK have signed an open letter calling on doctor MPs Matthew Offord, Phillip Lee, Caroline Johnson and Andrew Murrison to sign the Divest Parliament Pledge.

To date, over 220 cross-party MPs have backed the campaign to divest their pension from fossil fuel companies because of growing social, economic and environmental concerns about climate change.

The powerful open letter highlights how moving away from fossil fuels is integral to protecting and enhancing human health in the 21st century; by avoiding the worst physical impacts of climate change  and reducing the silent global killer of air pollution.

The signatories of this letter are calling on the doctor MPs to lead by example and support investment in a future economy that will promote planetary and human health.

The health community in the UK has been a leading advocate in the rapidly growing fossil fuel divestment movement, and has ensured that both the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Faculty of Public Health have made commitments to end their investments in coal, oil and gas companies such as BP PLC and Shell PLC.

Honey Smith, GP at the Richmond Medical Centre in Sheffield and member of Greener Practice UK said:

“By driving climate breakdown, our fossil fuel dependent economy threatens to reverse half a century of gains in global health. The risks of inaction are unequivocal, so political action is needed to bring about a future world that is powered by clean green energy. MPs must listen to the profound concerns of the 90 plus signatories of this letter and lead by example by backing fossil fuel divestment. We must invest in a fairer future that is powered by renewables, and not in backward looking companies who are still totally committed to extracting climate polluting fossil fuels.”

Dear Drs Matthew Offord MP, Phillip Lee MP, Caroline Johnson MP and Andrew Murrison MP,

As fellow health professionals, we are asking you to kindly consider signing the Divest Parliament Pledge in a personal capacity. The pledge calls on the trustees of the MPs’ Pension Fund to phase out its investments in fossil fuel companies – over an appropriate time scale – owing to growing environmental, economic and health concerns about climate change. To date, the pledge has been signed by over 200 serving and former cross-party MPs.

Research published in the Lancet has shown that climate change is already impacting the health of hundreds of millions of people and threatens to reverse the last half century of gains in global health. Just 100 fossil fuel companies have been responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Even more concerningly, the fossil fuel industry has five times more fossil fuels in its proven reserves than can be used if global warming is to be limited to 2⁰C. Warming beyond this limit, indeed warming beyond 1.5 ⁰C, would have devastating impacts on human health and human civilization.

Despite this, the industry continues to search for even more fossil fuels. A report by the Carbon Disclosure Project revealed that on average, fossil fuel companies allocated just 1.3 per cent of their total 2018 capital expenditure to green energy projects. The top investments currently made by the MPs’ Pension Fund are in oil majors Shell Plc and BP Plc. We believe that MPs should lead by example on the low carbon transition by investing their pensions in companies which actively promote green energy and foster low carbon innovation.

Fossil fuels are also a major contributor to air pollution, which kills 7 million people every year according to the World Health Organisation. This is similar to the number of deaths caused by tobacco each year. As a result, medical professional bodies, such as the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Faculty of Public Health have divested from fossil fuels. It is time for the MPs’ Pension Fund to follow their example. Improved health for everyone is a major co-benefit of shifting to a cleaner energy system. We hope you agree that this is a brighter future that we should actively invest in.

To date, the pledge has been signed by the following cross-party doctor MPs: Daniel Poulter, Sarah Wollaston, Philippa Whitford, Rosena Allin-Khan, Alan Whitehead and Paul Williams.

We sincerely hope you can add your name to the pledge (full text below).

Yours sincerely,

  1. Dr David Attwell (Jodrell Professor of Physiology, UCL; Fellow of the Royal Society)
  2. Dr Aarti Bansal (GP, NIHR Research Fellow, Chair of Greener Practice UK)
  3. Dr Deirdre Duff (Medact and Friends of the Earth)
  4. Dr Alasdair Gibb (Professor of Pharmacology, University College London)
  5. Dr Margaret Hayton (Retired GP, Sheffield)
  6. Dr Mark Horowitz (Clinical Research Fellow, UCL and NELFT)
  7. Dr James Lang PhD (Clinical Psychologist, Sheffield)
  8. Dr Tim Malone (Research Fellow, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and SRSHN Sustainability and Health Ambassador)
  9. Dr Jez McCole (GP, Gleadless Medical Centre, Sheffield)
  10. Dr Tytus Murphy (Campaigner with 350.org and Teaching Fellow at King’s College London)
  11. Dr Liz Newson (Retired GP, Sedbergh)
  12. Dr Jacqueline Robbins (Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry)
  13. Dr Honey Smith (GP, Richmond Medical Centre, Sheffield)
  14. Dr Zoe Steley (A+E registrar, Royal Free Hospital, London)
  15. Dr Jenny Swann (GP, Carterknowle and Dore Surgery, Sheffield)
  16. Dr Joanna Mulley (GP, Clarendon Lodge Medical Centre, Leamington)
  17. Dr James Szymankiewicz (GP, Ilfracombe. Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare)
  18. Dr Hareen De Silva (GP, The Burns Practice, Doncaster)
  19. Dr Kath Grinter (Retired contraception and sexual health doctor, Trafford)
  20. Dr Peter Poore. (retired)
  21. Professor Kais Kubba (Gynecologist, Ealing.)
  22. Dr Daniel Campion (MSc student, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)
  23. Dr Imti Choonara (Emeritus Professor in Child Health, University of Nottingham)
  24. Dr Diana Brighouse (Retired Consultant in Anaesthetics & Chronic Pain Management, University Hospitals,Southampton)
  25. Dr Judith King (Retired GP, Walsall)
  26. Dr Ellie Hothersall (Head of undergraduate medicine and Honorary Consultant in Public Health, Dundee)
  27. Dr Guinevere Tufnell (Child & Family Psychiatrist, Great Ormond Street Hospital. Retired)
  28. Dr Andrew Blewett (Consultant Psychiatrist, Exeter)
  29. Dr Shuo Zhang (Core Psychiatry Trainee, South London and the Maudsley NHS trust)
  30. Briony Pete (Sustainable Development Advisor the the Health and Care Sector)
  31. Dr Sue Edgley (Ex Psychiatrist and GP, Cotswolds)
  32. Dr Liam Thorley (Emergency Medicine Trainee, Luton and Dunstable NHS Trust)
  33. Dr Eliot Waterhouse (Emergency Medicine doctor, Betsi Cadwaladr)
  34. Dr Jeremy Wight (Public Health Physician, Derbyshire)
  35. Dr Anya Gopfert (Junior Doctor and Clinical Fellow, London)
  36. Dr Alan Maryon-Davis (Hon Professor of Public Health, King’s College London)
  37. Dr Jacqueline Ferguson (Retired consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist)
  38. Dr Rory Newman, (retired GP, Whitby)
  39. Dr Guy Johnson (retired GP, Edinburgh)
  40. Dr Alistair Wardrope (Core Medical Trainee, The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust)
  41. Alison Reid (Registered Midwife, NHS Lothian, Scotland.)
  42. Dr Robert Twycross (Emeritus Clinical Reader in Palliative Medicine, Oxford University)
  43. Dr Angela Gorman (Retired Haematologist, Essex)
  44. Carol Hutchinson Joint Chair Concerned Health Professionals of the UK (CHPUK) Ret Assistant Director for Clinical Governance & Clinical Risk, Leeds
  45. Dr.Sonya Baksi (retired consultant community paediatrician, life fellow Society of Public Health)
  46. Dr Paul Sackin (Retired GP, Cambridgeshire)
  47. Prof Alan Allport (Emeritus Professor of Experimental Psychology)
  48. Prof Paul Kinnersley (Retired Academic GP, Cardiff)
  49. Dr Suren Kanagasundaram (Nephrologist, Newcastle upon Tyne)
  50. Dr Hayley pinto (addiction psychiatrist Norfolk)
  51. Felicity McElderry (retired Paediatric Occupational Therapist)
  52. Dr Joyce Leeson (retired Director of Public health )
  53. Dr Paquita de Zulueta (Hon Senior Clinical Lecturer, Dept Public Health and Primary Care)
  54. Dr Joanne Veltman (Specialty Doctor Paediatrics, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital)
  55. Professor Christopher Millett (School of Public Health, Imperial College London)
  56. Dr Robert MacGibbon, FRCGP, (retired GP).
  57. Dr Jenny Donnison (retired clinical psychologist, Sheffield)
  58. Dr Stewart Britten, retired consultant child psychiatrist, Exeter
  59. Tim Clench (Clinical Scientist, Molecular Haematology, Bristol)
  60. Dr Andrew Manasse (Retired GP Sheffield)
  61. Emily van de Venter, Associate Director of Public Health
  62. Dr Andrew Turner (Public Health Specialty Registrar, Edge Hill University)
  63. Peter M. Brown (retired ENT)
  64. Elizabeth Murphy (Nurse and Midwife, Manchester)
  65. Dr Gilles de Wildt, GP, Senior Clinical Lecturer, Birmingham
  66. Dr Daniel Chandler, Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Dundee
  67. Dr Elisabeth Murray (retired consultant clinical oncologist)
  68. Dr Martin Hartog (retired physician, Bristol)
  69. Dr Michael van Beinum (retired child psychiatrist and retired honorary senior clinical lecturer, University of Glasgow).
  70. Dr Amy Squire (specialty trainee in psychiatry and medical psychotherapy, Manchester)
  71. Mr Ian Grant (Retired,Birmingham )
  72. Dr Margaret Jackson (GP, Whitby, North Yorkshire)
  73. Jason Bower (non-practising Pharmacist)
  74. Dr Judith Cook (Retired GP, London)
  75. Nazim Merchant (Retired Consultant Maxillo-Facial Surgeon, Ayrshire)
  76. Jean Brant (Health visitor, retired)
  77. Professor Hilary Neve (GP and Professor of Medical Education, Plymouth)
  78. Dr Paul Redgrave (retired Director of Public Health)
  79. Elizabeth Ritchie (retired Health Visitor)
  80. Dr EJ Terry  (GP, Sheffield)
  81. Prof. N. Bishop (Consultant paediatrician, Sheffield)
  82. Rosemary Kate Hughes (Retired Senior Occupational Therapist and Current Dramatherapist, Chichester)
  83. Robin Stott FRCP (retired consultant physician , exec member of the UK heath alliance on climate change)
  84. Dr Helen Jarvis (GP, Gleadless Medical Centre, Sheffield_
  85. Dr Clare Andrews (GP, London)
  86. Dr Jo Shawcross (Retired Palliative Care Consultant, Sussex)
  87. Dr Sarah Wilkinson (GP, Sheffield)
  88. Dr E. Calthrop-Owen (GP, Warwickshire)
  89. Sr Louise King (formerly Paediatric MacMillan Nurse, South Yorkshire region)
  90. Dr Louise Whitehurst (Retired GP, Sheffield)
  91. Dr Catherine Stace (GP registrar, Somerset)
  92. Dr William House (Chair, British Holistic Medical Association)
  93. Dr Maggie Eisner (retired GP and GP Training Programme Director)
  94. Dr Jym Paris (Peace Activist,  Retired GP and Public Health Consultant
  95. Carrie Pailthorpe (Public Health Analyst, PHE)
  96. Louise King (formerly Paediatric MacMillan Nurse, South Yorkshire region)
  97. Dr Louise Whitehurst (Retired GP, Sheffield)
  98. Prof. John Guillebaud (Emeritus Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health,UCL and  convener of Apology to the Future Project)
  99. Dr Barbara Tonge (Retired GP, Kendal)
  100. Dr Amar Rughani (GP, Sheffield)
  101. Dr Maria Read (GP, Sheffield)
  102. Dr Ollie Hart (GP, Sheffield)
  103. John Middleton (PrFPH, FRCP)
  104. Dr Patrick Saunders FRCP FFPH (Prof of Public Health, University of Staffordshire)
  105. Dr Ellis Friedman, (Treasurer, Faculty of Public Health)
  106. Dr Angela Harley (GP, East Yorkshire)
  107. Dr Sarah Walpole (Medical registrar, Newcastle)

Please consider signing the Divest Parliament pledge, by clicking here or replying to this email to confirm your support, full pledge text below:

“Unmitigated climate change threatens to undermine our economy, shared environment and global security. Under the UK’s Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement, the UK is committed to limiting warming to well below 2C and to aim for no more than 1.5C. This requires leaving the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves unburnt, creating the real possibility of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded – with profound implications for the global economy.

We believe Members of Parliament have a responsibility to act on climate change, and a unique opportunity to show leadership on climate action, responsible investment and the management of climate risk through addressing the practices of our own pension fund.

As MPs past and present, and members of the Parliamentary Pension Fund, we call on the Trustees to uphold their fiduciary duty and take the financial risks of climate change seriously. We ask they quantify, disclose and review the fund’s investments in carbon-intensive industries, engage in a dialogue with fund members and managers on responsible investment, and commit to phasing out fossil fuel investments over an appropriate time-scale.”