October 23, 2015

Cambridge City Council backs the move towards a fossil fuel-free future


Council supports divestment from fossil fuels and calls on county council and Cambridgeshire Pension Fund to work towards divestment.

CAMBRIDGE, UK – Fossil Free Cambridgeshire welcomes Cambridge City Council’s commitment to show leadership for a future free from fossil fuels after a motion was passed in full council last night.

Outside the meeting, the local campaign advocating divestment organised a rally in support of the motion.

The motion proposed by Labour, amended by the Liberal Democrats and strongly supported by the Green Party, recognises the risks climate change poses to the planet and to Cambridge, highlighting Cambridge’s “need to show leadership in advocating a fossil-fuel free future, both in terms of the council’s own policies, including its investments, and external engagement.” The motion further calls on Cambridgeshire County Council and the Cambridgeshire Pension Fund, to work towards divesting the £119 million currently in fossil fuels [1].

Councillor Oscar Gillespie said:

“This is a strong declaration that we want to commit to a fossil-free future for the city, for the sake of future generations. I will continue pushing for more progress, as we don’t have much time to get it right. But as a statement of intent, I’m proud of what the motion contains.”

Cambridge is the fourth city in the UK to support divestment from the fossil fuel industry. The city joins a rapidly growing movement which has seen universities, faith groups, health organisations and local governments across the world commit to divest from fossil fuels for moral and financial reasons [2].

Calum Harvey-Scholes, a campaigner with Fossil Free Cambridgeshire, noted,

“It is clear that avoiding catastrophic climate change means leaving 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. For this reason, it makes no financial sense to invest in overvalued fossil fuel companies as these risk becoming ‘stranded assets’. Morally, of course, investing in companies which are destroying our environment is clearly wrong too. This motion is an important first step to Cambridgeshire becoming fossil free.”

Ellen Gibson, Divestment Network Coordinator at 350.org commented,

“It’s great to see Cambridge join a growing number of councils across the UK standing up for our future and divesting from fossil fuels. Across the UK, £14 billion pours into companies such as Shell and BP from local council pension funds. Cambridgeshire County Pension Fund should heed the calls from the city today, and move its money out of this damaging and risky industry.”

Fossil Free Cambridgeshire recognises that, while Cambridge is not a large city, it does have a lot of influence. “We have the expertise and the resources here to really make a difference in the fight against climate change” said Calum. “We welcome other people who are interested in a safe, healthy future to join our campaign.”


For interviews and photos contact Calum Harvey-Scholes on 07966 468459 (calumharveys@gmail.com)


  1. This figure comes from data released last month by 350.org, Friends of the Earth and others. It is available here: https://gofossilfree.org/uk/pensions/
  2. See https://gofossilfree.org/commitments/ for a full list of divested institutions
  3. For more information on Fossil Free Cambridgeshire, see their website: www.fossilfreecambs.org, or contact on fossilfreecambs@pobox.com.