Letter in support of RCM divestment from fossil fuels
The Royal College of Midwives could make an important contribution to the fight against climate change by ending its investment in the fossil fuel industry. We are grateful that the College is considering this matter seriously and we want to show our support for fossil fuel divestment by sending them the following letter of encouragement. Please consider signing this letter if you are a member of the Royal College of Midwives.
To the RCM President and the RCM Investment Committee,
We write to you as members of the Royal College of Midwives, to express our support for ending the College’s investment in oil, gas and coal companies.
As trusted health professionals within society it is our responsibility and privilege to speak up and advocate in the best interests of the families we work with. Babies who are being born today will be growing up in a world that faces the worsening impacts of climate change. They will face catastrophic weather events, droughts, floods, food shortages and conflict over resources.It is our duty of care to do all we can to mitigate these effects and turn off the tap on fossil fuelled disaster.
Just 100 fossil fuel companies have been responsible for more than 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions since 1988. Fossil fuel driven climate change is already impacting the health of hundreds of millions of people and threatens to reverse the last half century of gains in global health. The fossil fuel industry has undermined climate science for many years and continues to lobby obstructively to frustrate real climate progress. Fossil fuels are also a major contributor to air pollution, which kills 7 million people every year according to the World Health Organisation. This is similar to the number of deaths caused by tobacco each year.
Decades of shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies has failed to make them switch their core business models away from fossil fuels. In October 2018, the Shell CEO confirmed that “Shell’s core business is, and will be for the foreseeable future, very much in oil and gas”.
Fossil fuel investments also pose a financial risk to the RCM; many organisations are now divesting from fossil fuels to protect their future investment returns. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England has stated that a carbon budget consistent with a 2°C target “would render the vast majority of reserves ‘stranded’ — oil, gas and coal that will be literally unburnable”. Fossil fuel company share prices are expected to drop permanently in value as their fossil fuel assets are written off as unburnable.
We hope that the RCM will recognise the ethical, financial and reputational concerns with fossil fuel investing and will commit to ending investment in this industry as a matter of urgency. This would allow our College to show true climate leadership and to play our part in protecting the future of babies we deliver today.
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