Dancing climate activists performed fossil fuels protest outside Edinburgh pensions conference

Climate campaigners from Extinction Rebellion Scotland, Divest Lothian and Global Justice Now Scotland staged a dance protest outside the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Conference in Edinburgh on Wednesday morning to highlight the flawed climate risk models used by pension funds and to call on the funds to stop investing in fossil fuels

Activists performed a disco-themed ‘Stayin Alive’ dance routine to call on funds, including the Universities Superannuation Scheme and Lothian Pension Fund, to end their investments in fossil fuel companies such as Shell, BP, Exxon and TotalEnergies which are fuelling the climate crisis.

Watch climate activists dance and speak to STV News

Extinction Rebellion: Climate activists stage protest dancing to Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees in Edinburgh

The campaigners asked conference delegates to heed recent reports by Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) and the independent financial think tank, Carbon Tracker, which show that the economic models used by pension funds are significantly underestimating climate risk. Consequently, funds’ investment strategies are delaying the urgent action needed to tackle the climate emergency and are also putting our retirement incomes at risk.

The tide is slowly turning. To date, 1614 institutions around the world have committed to divest $40.63 trillion from fossil fuel companies, including a growing number of pension funds. Earlier this month PFZW, Europe’s third largest pension fund, completed its divestment from oil and gas companies which are not aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement, including Shell, Exxon, BP and TotalEnergies. French oil giant, TotalEnergies, is currently struggling to fund one of its ventures, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline6, due to environmental and human rights  concerns from investors.

Elizabeth Matthews, from Extinction Rebellion Scotland said: “The current flawed climate risk models used by pension funds are dangerous and foolhardy. If we are to have a viable economy for today’s workers to retire into, it is critical that urgent action is taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions this decade. Pension fund managers must stop being duped by fossil fuel companies and act.”

Joan Forehand, campaigner with Divest Lothian said: It is crystal clear from the reports we are highlighting today that the pension industry can no longer, in good faith, accept the woefully flawed climate risk advice they have been receiving. To act in the interests of their members they must unleash  their vast investment resources into companies that are serious about driving down carbon emissions quickly. Remaining invested in fossil fuel companies is a recipe for climate and economic breakdown.”

Sophie Burgess from Global Justice Edinburgh Youth Collective said, “We cannot allow pensions to continue to fund fossil fuel giants like TotalEnergies who are continuing to threaten my future, the future of people in Uganda and Tanzania, and the future of people globally with devastating projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

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