uppsala (2)

Fossil Free Uppsala campaigners celebrate the news at Uppsala City Hall.

Uppsala just became the largest city in Sweden so far to commit to divest itself from fossil fuels, after the city council voted to ban investments in coal, oil and gas.  The move is designed to bring the city’s financial policies in line with its policies to reduce carbon emissions.

Following in the footsteps of Örebro, Sweden’s fourth largest city Uppsala is challenging other cities to stop investing in fossil fuels.

Uppsala’s deputy mayor Maria Gard Fjell said:

“We are working hard to reduce Uppsala’s emissions by investing in cycling infrastructure, renewable energy and sustainable buildings. Divestment is an important next step. Now we challenge other municipalities to also modernise their climate efforts.”

In total, Uppsala has investments of SEK 350-400 million (€37-43 million).

The city’s decision increases the pressure on the prestigious Uppsala University, which has been urged by student campaigners to divest. Fanny Sannerud of Fossil free Uppsala University commented:

“We are delighted that the divestment campaign had an effect on our town. The next step is for the university to live up to its own core values of sustainability.”

In October, Sweden’s capital Stockholm announced that it will review its investments in fossil fuels but failed to specify a time frame.   Uppsala  recently published an op-ed in Dagens Samhälle (a newspaper for public sector decision makers) nudging other big cities to follow their example.

Today’s decision will only put further pressure on the countries other big cities like Stockholm and Malmö to take action.

Divestment campaigners are urging institutions to pledge a ban on investments in fossil fuels in the lead-up to the climate negotiations in Paris. If you want to see climate action in Paris, you can’t continue to invest in companies that are fueling the climate crisis.