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Nonviolent direct action campaign launched as County Council refuses to stop funding climate change

Tuesday 11 February, County Hall, Lewes: Scores of campaigners from across the County will be holding a masked ‘Thunberg-in’ and Valentine’s-themed sing-a-thon outside County Hall tomorrow (Tuesday 11 February, 8 – 10am) to protest against East Sussex County Council’s ongoing refusal to stop funding climate change [2]. The event, entitled ‘Stop in the name of love!’, marks the launch of a nonviolent direct action campaign to compel the Council to stop investing in the giant oil and gas companies that are driving our current climate crisis – companies like Exxon, Shell and BP [3].

The masked ‘Thunbergs’ will perform a variety of well-known songs, with altered lyrics, as Councillors arrive for their Full Council meeting, including ‘Stop in the name of love!’, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice [if you would divest]?’ and ‘All you need is love [and to ditch BP]’.

ESCC currently invests £145 million of the East Sussex Pension Fund (which covers Brighton and Hove as well as East Sussex) in fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) [4]. Last October saw the County Council declare a ‘climate emergency’ but refuse to commit to selling these investments [5].

In January, Greta Thunberg joined 19 other climate strikers from around the world in issuing a call for ‘all companies, banks, institutions and governments [to] immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction … and completely divest from fossil fuels.’ [6] ‘Anything less than immediately ceasing these investments in the fossil fuel industry would be a betrayal of life itself’, they noted.

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: ‘Last year we saw Australia burn, the Arctic melt, Sheffield flood and Mozambique devastated by tropical cyclones. And much, much worse is on the way unless we rapidly transition away from fossil fuels. Yet East Sussex County Council continues to invest in the oil and gas companies – companies like Exxon and BP – that are blocking such action [7]. We urge all those of members of the public in Brighton and East Sussex who are concerned about the climate crisis to heed the climate strikers’ call and join with us to compel the County Council to stop funding climate change.’

More info: 07596 483 272


[1] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com
[2] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com/2019/12/23/stop-in-the-name-of-love-thunberg-in-and-sing-a-thon-outside-county-hall-on-tues-11-feb/
[3] ‘Just 100 companies have been the source of more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 … ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Chevron are identified as among the highest emitting investor-owned companies since 1988.’ https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change
[4] Response by the Chair of the Pension Committee to Frances Witt, 16 October 2018: https://democracy.eastsussex.gov.uk/documents/b12581/Item%204%20-%20Questions%20from%20members%20of%20the%20public%2016th-Oct-2018%2010.00%20Full%20Council.pdf?T=9.
[5] https://divesteastsussex.wordpress.com/2019/10/15/323/
[6] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/10/greta-thunberg-davos-tycoons-fossil-fuels-dismantle-climate-crisis
[7] Over the last four years Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP and Total have spent over a billion dollars on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying, in an effort to undermine global action on climate change: https://influencemap.org/report/How-Big-Oil-Continues-to-Oppose-the-Paris-Agreement-38212275958aa21196dae3b76220bddc