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XR activists target Edinburgh-based pension company for investing MSPs' pensions in ecocide

Baillie Gifford has increased the Scottish Parliament’s pension-fund holding in fossil-fuel company Shell from £360,000 to £430,000

EXTINCTION Rebellion (XR) activists blockaded the offices of pension-fund managers Baillie Gifford in Edinburgh today after it increased MSPs’ retirement-fund investment in Shell.

The action, the latest in XR’s Rig Rebellion 2.0, came after the company increased the Scottish Parliament’s pension-fund holding in the fossil-fuel company from £360,000 to £430,000, despite Holyrood’s declaration of a climate emergency.

Two weeks of XR action are targeting the fossil-fuel industry and the institutions which support it, demanding a transition to green alternatives led by a legally binding citizens’ assembly.

A number of protesters today locked themselves to the building at Calton Hill, hoping to stay there all day with banners reading: “MSPs pensions invested in ecocide.”

Shell is set to increase production by 35 per cent over the next 10 years.

XR claims that by investing in companies that are actively increasing production of fossil fuels, Scotland is complicit in increasing the severity of climate change.

Campaigns officer John Hardy said: “Pensions are supposed to be about the future, but there will be no future if we keep investing in fossil fuels.

“Our representatives and those who work on their behalf need to show leadership on the climate emergency by removing all support for the fossil industry, which threatens us all.

“I have been campaigning for divestment of parliamentary pension funds for a number of years and I know that our politicians recognise the need to tackle climate breakdown. But we can’t wait any longer for them to take action. They need to divest now.”

Calls to divest the Scottish Parliament’s pension funds from fossil fuels have been welcomed by all parties in Scotland.

Scottish Green co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “It’s important to lead by example, which is why MSPs of all colours have been calling for an end to unethical investments of our pension funds.

“During a climate emergency, any investment in our future must recognise that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is simply incompatible with the available science on global warming.”

Holyrood had not responded to requests for comment by the Morning Star at the time of going to press.

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