(Cape Town) – Climate change campaigners have launched a fossil fuel disinvestment campaign in a bid to get South African cities, pensions funds and institutions to extract their investments from coal, oil and gas.
Fossil Free South Africa and 350Africa, local branches of international NGOs founded to fight global climate change, are targeting the City of Cape Town in the start of their campaign.
Ahmed Mokgopo of 350Africa said the local campaign was part of an international movement which had resulted in 700 institutions, mainly in the US, Europe and Australia, making commitments to disinvest a total of $5 trillion from fossil fuel companies.
Mokgopo said in some ways the City of Cape Town was progressive about tackling climate change. It had good climate change policies and was the first city in Africa to publish regular state of the climate reports. “So it doesn’t make sense for the City to continue to support a fossil fuel industry which perpetuates climate change,” Mokgopo said.
The campaigners will ask the City to disclose the total value of its investments in fossil fuels and to make a commitment to disinvesting from fossil fuel companies. Under the Municipal Finances Act, cities had a fiduciary duty to ensure that its monies were spent in the best interest of the people. Investing in fossil fuels, that were the major cause of climate change, was not fulfilling this duty.
“We are trying to get every Capetonians to push their councilors to get this motion through council,” Mokgopo said.
David le Page of Fossil Free South Africa said at the launch that although nations had committed to cut their carbon emissions at the last climate change talks in order to keep the average global temperature rise to below two degrees centigrade, if all these commitments were added up, it was still not enough to keep the temperature increase below this target.
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