Uncovering: Exxon’s Big Lie

By Mathieu Munsch, PhD student at the University of Strathclyde

Over the summer 2015, a team of investigative journalists at the Pullitzer-price winning news website Inside Climate News uncovered what may very well turn out to be the single biggest crime a corporation has ever been responsible for.

They discovered, through meticulous gathering of evidence from archives, leaked documents and interviews with ex-employees that the oil giant Exxon Mobil was well aware of the impact of its activities on the climate as early as the late 1970s, but willingly silenced that information and embarked on a multimillion dollar campaign to spread doubt about man-made climate change and delay government action to solve it.

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Uncovering: Shell

By Isabella Nilsen

Shell is one of the companies that the Strathclyde Pension Fund (SPF) is investing in. Shell’s oil drilling and extensive exploration for resources in the Niger Delta has made an extensive damage to the communities in the area, as well as the environment. This has been going on for a long time, and it needs to stop. However, for that to happen, people need to stop profiting from the damage, which is why the SPF need to divest.

The Niger Delta is situated in the south of Nigeria, and is one of the world’s largest wetlands[1] and the home for nearly 30 million people[2].It is truly ironic that Shell claims to be ’working with the communities’[3], when they have been using substandard techniques for drilling oil that has had a lasting effect on the people living in the area: higher rates of cancer and asthma due to gas flaring[4]; oil spills leading to a lack of clean water and a lack of food safe enough to eat, all in all resulting in that many have had to abandon their homes[5].

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Just Transition

By John Thorne, Environmental Officer at Glasgow School of Art

The move from a fossil fuel based economy to a clean energy economy will mean major changes within our economy and society – we think for the better. To ensure none are left behind we will need to make a “Just Transition”. Workers, unions, and their communities will be equal partners in ensuring that workers are retrained and re-employed. To achieve this, government and industry must join together to ensure benefits to the economy and environment are maximised, redistributing subsidies and changing tax regimes to create long-lasting, secure jobs that create clean energy.

Big Oil is Big Business: it employs 156,000 people in Scotland[1], 450,000 across the UK and brought in £6.5Bn in taxes to the UK Government in 2012.[2] 40Bn barrels have been extracted from the North Sea over the last 50 years and the next 40 years could see another 24Bn.

But oil production peaked in 1999, and recent work by Carbon Tracker shows that for any chance to keep below 2°c of global warming we need to leave the majority of oil and gas where it is.[3]

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Uncovering: BHP Billiton

By Rita Prokofieva

One of the companies included in Strathclyde Pension Fund‘s portfolio,  is BHP Billitonthe worlds largest mining company, measured by market value in 2015.

About BHP Billiton

  • It has the 6th largest reserves of coal in the world (source)
  • The company is primarily focused on the extraction of oil, coal, iron ore, gas production and copper, but is also produces silver, lead, uranium and zinc (source)
  • From the beginning of the industrial age, until 2010, BHP Billiton was one of the 90 companies responsible for 63% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions 
  • BHP Billiton operates in 25 countries, Columbia’s case will be presented here.

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Fossil Free Future to Strathclyde Pension Fund

By Zivile Mantrimaite and Connie James

Fossil Free Strathclyde campaign just kicked off with a public meeting at Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, where those involved in the set up of the movement presented an introduction to the key components of the campaign.

This is a subject that can be tackled from many angles, with arguments stemming from environmental, social, and financial benefits. All of these arguments come together to create a truly engaging call for full divestment from fossil fuels. Following the introductory presentation the meeting opened up to a general discussion and ideas about the campaign.

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Public Meeting

Strathclyde Pension fund is the 2nd largest pension scheme in the UK, in terms of investment in the fossil fuel industry. It deals with 200,000 people who receive their pensions from over 200 organisations within the former Strathclyde area. The fund is worth close to £15 billion and £752 million of that is invested into fossil fuels. The fossil fuel industry is not only one of the main drivers of climate change but also has ethical implications.

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The aim of this campaign will be to reach a divestment from fossil fuels and later on reinvestment in responsible long-term solutions. But we are only at the start of this journey and would like to invite everyone for a public meeting.

During the first part of the meeting we will present the campaign, giving the moral and financial arguments for divesting. After that we will open up for any inputs, ideas or support from groups or individuals.

We would like to encourage everyone to come along, whether you are a curious individual or a concerned organisation.

Date: 13th of February
Time: 14:00 – 16:00
Place: The Old Hairdressers
20-28 Renfield Lane
G2 6PH, Glasgow

Hope to see many people there,
we are excited to share our ideas with you!