Till Divest Do Us Part

East Sussex County Council is getting married … but will it be to fossil fuels or renewables?

On 22 March 2022, Divest East Sussex and XR Lewes staged a mock wedding outside County Hall in Lewes, to protest East Sussex County Coucil’s ongoing refusal to stop investing in the giant fossil fuel (oil, coal & gas) companies that are driving the climate crisis.

Organised by Divest East Sussex & XR Lewes

WEDDING PROTEST SPOTLIGHTS COUNTY COUNCIL’S FAILURE TO BREAK WITH FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES

Climate campaigners from across East Sussex, Brighton and Hove staged a mock wedding between East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and fossil fuels outside County Hall in Lewes, before ESCC’s Full Council meeting. Entited ‘Till Divest Do Us Part’, the theatrical protest was held to highlight ESCC’s ongoing refusal to stop investing the East Sussex Pension Fund in the giant fossil fuel (oil, coal and gas) companies that are driving the climate crisis.

The East Sussex Pension Fund currently has tens of millions of pounds of local people’s pensions invested in giant oil and gas companies like Shell and BP. Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council, Brighton & Hove City Council, Bexhill Town Council, Peacehaven Town Council, UNISON, Maria Caulfield MP (Con, Lewes) and Caroline Lucas MP (Green, Brighton Pavilion) have all called on ESCC to stop investing in fossil fuels. The Fund is likely to vote again on fossil fuel divestment at its meeting on 20 July.

In its most recent report, the IPCC – the UN’s climate science body – noted that even with stringent climate measures likely to limit warming to 2°C, half of the world’s population ‘could be exposed to periods of life-threatening climatic conditions arising from coupled impacts of extreme heat and humidity by 2100’ .

A spokesperson for Divest East Sussex said: ‘In our play, East Sussex County Council drops fossil fuels and marries renewables instead. However, in reality, the County Council is still investing local people’s in the giant oil and gas companies, like Shell and BP, that are driving the climate crisis. By clinging on to these investments it is helping to provide a fig-leaf for these companies’ ongoing attempts to block effective climate action  and missing a huge opportunity to show real leadership on the climate crisis. It’s long past time for East Sussex County Council to make a public commitment to fully divest from fossil fuels.’