Divestment with Swansea Council’s Pension Fund Committee

Swansea Council Divestment Campaign - XR Swansea - Extinction Rebellion

Swansea Council’s Pension Fund Committee may not agree to remove fossil fuel investment banks from their portfolio because these investment banks offer good returns. One of the investment banks they use is JP Morgan and Aberdeen Asset Management. However, by the time our current council employees retire, fossil fuel investment may have dried up due to the climate emergency. Therefore, Swansea Council Pension Fund committee needs to move away from fossil fuel investments to more environmentally friendly investments.

Divestment Protest Organised by XR Swansea Outside The Guildhall..

Global banks, led by JP Morgan Chase, invested $1.9 trillion in fossil fuel projects (FFP’s) since the 2016 Paris Climate Pact. The top banks investing heavily in FFP’s are JP Morgan ($196.66 billion), Wells Fargo ($151.60 billion), Bank of America ($106.69). Barclays lay in 6th position with $85.18 billion poured into FFP’s, HSBC with $57.81 billion and RBS funding $4.37 billion into FFP’s all since the 2016 Paris Climate Pact.

Aberdeen Asset Management also fund FFP’s and can be seen in the links below. We need to dry up fossil fuel funding of oil companies as they will continue drilling existing wells and seek new wells to drill and extract fossil fuels which in contra to reducing climate change and global temperature below 1.5º Celsius by 2030. The links below offer further reading.

https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/03/20/jpmorgan-chase-tops-banks-financing-fossil-fuels-climate-change

https://www.aberdeenstandard.com/docs?editionId=217386d8-1480-410d-96f5-495cde03d868

Oil And Gas Giants Spend Millions Lobbying To Block Climate Change Policies 

Every year, the world’s five largest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend approximately $200 million on lobbying designed to control, delay or block binding climate-motivated policy. Read more…

XR Swansea: Local Democracy Strategy

XR Swansea, Local Democracy, People's Assemblies

Environmental and Social Progress through
Local Democracy, Participatory Budgeting and Community Organising

XR has 3 core demands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_Rebellion 

The 1st of these demands is for “The Government must tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, reverse inconsistent policies and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.” As a result of the protests and over 1,000 arrests in London in April 2019, the UK Parliament declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency.

The 2nd demand is for “The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.”

The 3rd demand is for the formation of “A national Citizens’ assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.” This a bold ask and very much needed but there are a lot of unknowns that go with this strategy such as; will the Government commit to supporting such a demand? And if they do; will a national Citizens Assembly be enough to oversee all the decisions necessary to achieve the decarbonisation of our society at every level, country, county & community?

To mitigate against some of the risk involved, there is an opportunity for people to take more personal and collective responsibility at a local level inside our own communities. As concerned citizens we can begin the process of providing essential services required to create more authentic, open and participatory democracy. 

In the process of providing citizens oversight for existing local decisions being made, engaging in participatory budgeting and local organising around real projects, we will learn how democracy currently functions, who is who, where the power lies and through People’s Assemblies be able to co-create new models until we have a process that is far more “fit for purpose” as the 3rd demand requests.

Communities have both Community Councils and Ward Councillors but most people are not well acquainted or connected to these people. There are lots of simple but vital roles that volunteers can engage in that will move us in a positive direction i.e. within local democracy, participatory budgeting and community organising. 

In South Wales, specifically Cardiff, Swansea and Carmarthenshire, we already have some groundbreaking case studies. Together we can discover and review these, meet the people involved and adapt the models with a view to replicating them in our own communities.

As well as better understanding the human, social and political fabric of our communities, there is also a powerful opportunity to co-create the digital tools that will underpin news ways of working and help bring about the culture change we urgently need. 

One example being Pennard Community Council which has become the first Community Council in Wales to engage in participatory with residents on how local budgets are spent and also the first to declare climate and ecological emergency. In Swansea we could set one aim to be for all the 36 communities that make up the Local Authority to do the same which would result in a case study worth of national/global attention and inspire many others around the world to do the same.


Contact: democracy@xrswansea.org.uk

Pink Sparrows Ground Display

Following Swansea Council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency on 27th June, members of Swansea Extinction Rebellion will perform a “Pink Sparrows Ground Display”. Beach performances during the Swansea air show, July 6-7, offer a light-hearted way of raising awareness of the Climate Emergency with the public. The ‘sparrows’ will perform the moves made famous by the Red Arrows to create a ground show designed to provoke curiosity and raise awareness of the role of aviation in climate breakdown.

By declaring a Climate Emergency, Swansea Council recognises that our climate is changing rapidly and threatens our future. We must act now to reduce harm and reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change. The environmental impact of aviation is growing as more and more people take advantage of cheap flights made possible by government subsidies. The current situation of no taxation on aviation fuel is nonsense. Government is subsidising polluters so they can pollute more. The attendance of thousands at the air display is an opportunity to raise awareness of climate breakdown and call for an end to government subsidies and for change in our attitudes to air travel.

Interview with Flo, our lead Sparrow..

And it is more than this – we aim to show we are not sitting around waiting for climate change, but working to build a future by creating community. The Pink Sparrows are part of XR’s regenerative culture working joyfully on the most important issue of our time.

Pink Sparrows outside the Guildhall in Swansea warming up for the Air Show

Join us at our Pop Up Protest Party in Oxford Street on August 3rd.