Cape Town Heeds the Fossil Fuel Divestment Call
CAPE TOWN - Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille has announced the city’s commitment to divest from fossil fuel assets in favour of more sustainable investments, joining cities around the world in withdrawing their funds from destructive coal, oil and gas industries. This announcement comes after months of campaigning from local NGO Fossil Free South Africa and 350.org, who targeted Cape Town during the Global Divestment Mobilisation in May.
In her statement, the Mayor said: “I have informed our Finance Directorate that we are going to divest from fossil fuel assets and companies in favour of greener and cleaner investments which are in line with our vision of a sustainable future. We are going to instruct investors looking after our money not to put our money into fossil fuel-related companies or for it to be used to fund the development of dirty and unsustainable projects. We want our investments to be aligned with our principles of resilience and sustainability.”
Reacting to the announcement Ahmed Mokgopo, divestment campaigner with 350.org said: “We applaud the cities moral leadership in committing to fossil fuel divestment. This is a step in the right direction, and we look forward to the City publicising a clear timeline for divestment to take place. As more countries and cities commit to action on climate change, it makes sense to divest from fossil fuels now.”
This announcement comes at a time when the city faces drought and increasingly strict water restrictions. These are the types of repercussions predicted by climate scientists as a result of the more erratic weather patterns that climate change brings. Bold action such as this commitment from the Mayor will see the city secure it's place on the right side of history, avoiding further water shortages and averting climate change impacts in the long term.
‘Fossil Free SA and international partners first approached the City to consider divestment in December 2016. Globally, dozens of other cities have already divested – from Seattle and San Francisco to Paris, Oslo, Copenhagen and Melbourne – but we’re absolutely delighted that the City of Cape Town has moved so quickly to become the first city in a developing country to see both the ethical and financial sense of divesting from old energy companies. 48 developing countries are now committed to 100% renewable energy, and Cape Town’s move leads the way for SA’s coal-intensive economy,’ said David Le Page, coordinator of Fossil Free South Africa.
The global divestment movement has spread like wildfire, proving to be a powerful tool in stigmatising the fossil fuel industry's power over our political and economic systems. To date, global commitments, have reached over 700 institutions across the world, representing over $5 trillion under management. The movement started on university campuses and has spread to cities, pension funds, faith and cultural institution, expediting the equitable shift of economic and political control away from extractive corporations.
350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.