A Thamesmead activist is campaigning for his council to divest its shares in fossil fuels worth £38,670,000.

Sam Martin, 30, from Binsey Walk, co-founded the pressure group Divest Bexley in August this year as part of the global grassroots climate movement 350.Org.

Mr Martin’s focus is on the Bexley Council Pension Fund, a body related to but independent of the council, which is investing £3.9m in the controversial Tar Sands energy company, Suncor.

Tar sands are a particularly polluting energy source, producing four times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil extraction - according to lead scientists at The Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

Mr Martin said: “I’m doing this because I care about climate change.

“We are trying to talk to the councillors - we’ve found them to be very nice but we will see how this works.

“The tar sands are a red line for the climate - we know that this polluting energy source simply cannot be burned if we are to keep in line with global climate change targets.

News Shopper:
The Thamesmead campaigner fronts the Divest Bexley pressure group

“Bexley’s investments in Suncor are investments in destruction - it’s time they divested from this risky business, and from dirty energy altogether.”

Bexley is the third largest investor of 23 in Suncor - with £3.9m currently invested in the company - alongside Bromley council which has invested £700,616.66.

TOP STORIES:

On behalf of the Bexley Pension Fund, a spokesman for the council said: "The Pension Fund has a Socially Responsible Investment Policy (SRI) which requires its investment managers to engage actively with companies in which they invest.

"The aim of the SRI policy is to maximise financial returns for the pension fund and Council Tax payers, while ensuring that companies in which the Pension Fund invests meet all legal requirements, reflect good practice and provide sustainable competitive advantage, and protect the company and its shareholders from harmful activity."

Energy campaigners like Mr Martin and his co-founder Drew Heffernan, 27, believe the controversial oil exploration is bad news for the climate - leading to mass deforestation and significant pollution of water supplies.

By some estimates, 80 per cent of known fossil fuels need to remain in the ground to ensure the 2 degree Celsius global warming threshold remains low.

The most important talks between world leaders discussing climate change are taking place in Paris this month at COP21.