MSPs urge Scottish Parliament to end fossil fuel investments

Holyrood gv

A cross-party group of Scottish politicians has called on the Scottish Parliament to end its investment in fossil fuels.

The group of 15 current and former MSPs includes a past Labour leader and an SNP minister. Members have pledged to:

“support the Scottish Government and Parliament divesting from fossil fuels and investing in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy over an appropriate time-scale.”

The initiative coincides with the launch of the Divest Scotland Campaign.

A similar campaign in the UK Parliament calling for divestment of the Westminster Pension Fund has been backed by over 250 MPs.

Tomorrow (4 June 2019), a committee of MSPs meets to discuss the Scottish Parliament’s pension fund. Friends of the Earth Scotland says the fund currently has no ethical policy and invests over £1 million in oil, gas and coal companies, including Shell, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.

One of the group, Claudia Beamish MSP, Scottish Labour, said:

“The time has come for the Scottish Government and Parliament to begin ethical environmental investments for a sustainable future, for workers, communities, children, and grandchildren. This leadership and solidarity will give assurance that, when planned for over an appropriate timescale, we can all confidently see divestment from fossil fuels, and positive investment in a just transition to a net zero emissions economy and society.”

Alison Johnstone MSP, Scottish Green Party, said:

“As MSPs we need to use our pension funds to back this change, and that means divesting from fossil fuels. I hope support for this campaign sends a strong message to the Pension Trustees that now is the time for them to go fossil free.”

Alex-Cole Hamilton MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrats, said:

“We need strong, committed and cross-party action to move away from high-polluting fossil fuels and invest in renewable alternatives. I am therefore delighted to join my fellow MSPs in supporting the Divest Scotland pledge.”

Marco Biagi, SNP, a former local government minister, said:

“Pensions need to be funded through safe, long-term investments but I won’t be collecting mine until a decade after Scotland aims to be carbon neutral. We need to get fossil fuels out of the retirement portfolio long before that.”

The call has been welcomed by Ric Lander, Friends of the Earth Scotland divestment campaigner. He said:

“People across Scotland are demanding urgent action to address the climate emergency. MSPs can respond by putting their own house in order, divesting their own pension fund from fossil fuels and making a commitment to investing in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Parliament said the investment strategy of the pension scheme was being reviewed.

List of MSPs who have signed the pledge

So far, the group has no Scottish Conservatives or current SNP members.

  • Alex Cole-Hamilton, Liberal Democrat, Edinburgh Western
  • Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green Party, Lothian
  • Andy Wightman, Scottish Green Party,  Lothian
  • Claudia Beamish, Scottish Labour, South Scotland
  • Claire Baker, Scottish Labour, Mid Scotland and Fife
  • Daniel Johnson, Scottish Labour, Edinburgh Southern
  • Jackie Baillie, Scottish Labour, Dumbarton, West Scotland
  • Jenny Marra, Scottish Labour, North East Scotland
  • John Finnie, Scottish Green Party, Highlands & Islands
  • Iain Gray, Scottish Labour, East Lothian, South Scotland
  • Marco Biagi, Scottish National Party, former MSP for Edinburgh Central
  • Mark McDonald, Independent, Aberdeen Donside
  • Patrick Harvie, Scottish Green Party, Glasgow
  • Rhoda Grant, Scottish Labour, Highlands & Islands Ross Greer, Scottish Green Party, West Scotland
  • Ross Grear, Scottish Green Party, West Scotland

6 replies »

  1. Would it be useful to list those MSPs and MPs who will not sign so the public know exactly where there elected representatives stand and so they can apply pressure to get them to do so?

  2. “The oil and gas sector is vital to both the UK and Scottish economies. The sector was worth an estimated £11.8 billion to Scotland’s economy in 2017, representing over 7% of total Scottish GDP.”


    “North Sea revenue is forecast to raise £1.1 billion in 2018 to 2019.”

    Over 100,000 Scots employed in the industry (<18,000 in renewables, renewables <3%Scotland GDP)


    A bit like a very mini Norway – the sovereign wealth fund divests, Norway goes flat out to increase oil and gas production, opens new exploration licences in the Arctic area and tells Greenpeas and EOI where to go….

    Not too many SNP on the list? Oh yes, they are in power…..

    What happened to the fracking / unconvetionals ban onshore?

  3. So, (some) Scottish politicians want to sell out not only their own fishing industry but also oil and gas!

    Shouldn’t sign the pledge too quick-Scotch may be all that is left.

  4. Yes, Paul, I used to do business with the salmon industry in Scotland and Norway. Big advantage the Norwegians have is the depth of their waters, so the salmon are kept in a different environment to the more shallow Scottish waters. Oddly my wife noticed that Norwegian salmon were less fatty than Scottish without knowing the reason for it and still moans if she can not buy Norwegian.
    Notice the Norwegians are trialling cages now that are separated from the sea to prevent impact upon wild salmon and sea trout. That could be quite exciting.

    Of course the other aspect with regard to farmed salmon is the majority of their diet is made up of other fish, or fish waste so control of Scottish fishing waters is a potential big bonus to Scottish fish farming. Seems to be ignored within the Indy debate-conveniently.

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