Royal College of Physicians make fossil fuel divestment pledge

The professional body is pledging to divest from oil, gas and mining companies by 2023 if they fail to demonstrate their operations are in line with the goals of the Paris agreement

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has made a commitment to divest from major US oil and gas companies that haven’t acted on climate change by 2023.

The professional body started divesting from fossil fuel companies four years ago and under its previous policy, no investments were made in firms that derived more than 10% of their revenue from the production of thermal coal and tar sands.

The RCP is now pledging to divest from oil, gas and mining companies over the next three years if they fail to demonstrate their operations are in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

It will use insight from the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) or an equivalent tool to disinvest from fossil fuel companies that haven’t set emissions targets.

It also expects its fund managers to engage with power utility firms and those that drive demand for fossil fuels in high carbon intensive sectors such as automotive, aviation, cement, construction, chemicals, steel and shipping.

RCP President Professor Andrew Goddard said: “Climate change will significantly impact public health in the UK and around the world and the Royal College of Physicians has an important role to play in highlighting the health impact.

“If our voice is to be effective, we must ensure that our public advocacy is consistent with our own investments. Our new Climate Policy reflects the pace of climate change and the urgent need for everything possible to be done to limit global temperature rises in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

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