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Friday, 13 February 2015

Global Divestment Day Luxembourg

Unless you have been living in a cave for the last 20 years, or you happen to be Former President George W Bush; you will have heard of a little thing we call ' Global Warming!'

Global Warming is the increase of Earth's average surface temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide emissions from, amongst other things, the burning  of fossil fuels.David Suzuki, scientist and  environmental activist, said of Climate Change;

"Humanity is facing a challenge unlike any we’ve ever had to confront. We are in an unprecedented period of change."

Global Divestment Day takes place on 13th and 14th February 2015 in 380 cities and 48 countries around the globe . In Luxembourg it came a little earlier, with Greenpeace holding it's on Divestment Day at the Place Clairefontaine on the morning of 11th February.

"So what is Global Divestment day and how does it affect us here in Luxembourg?"

The Fossil fuel industry is the richest trade body in the world, in 2014 there estimated net worth was approximately $5 trillion. It's this financial strength that has allowed the  fossil fuel industry to have our political process in shackles and is the moral and ethical conflict most politicians are reluctant to discuss..............'Money, and more specifically making it!'

So whilst world leaders nod their collective heads and agree that we have to look at alternatives to fossil fuels, they continue to spend public money in the exact same companies through investments!

Take Luxembourg as an example, according to the 2013 annual report, the Luxembourg pension fund (Fonds de Compensation) invested €1/2 billion alone in the petroleum industry through the purchase of stocks and bonds. In addition, approximately €7 million was invested in French nuclear companies. In the same year, only 0.7% of Luxembourg's primary energy came from sustainable sources!

Perhaps it's just me, but isn't there  something fundamentally wrong with this picture?

"Should we be putting our money into an industry that is polluting our planet?"

Martina Holbach of Greenpeace Luxembourg spoke briefly to  the Minister Romain Schneider (responsible for the FDC)  to urge the Luxembourg government to 'rethink' their current investment policies and look for moral and ethical alternatives.

On the 13th and 14th February the same message will be delivered to governments throughout the globe. Urging an immediate freeze on 'New Investments' in fossil fuel industries and a complete phase out over the next 5 years.

It can be done.....earlier this year, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth (oil) fund divested from 22 companies, potentially totalling billions of dollars in assets. Given Norway's'  economic reliance on the oil industry in particular, this was something of a 'coup d'├ętat' and one we can only hope other countries will follow!

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”  - Howard Zinn

Remember there is no planet B!


*Photo credits - Greenpeace Luxembourg/Alix Burton

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