Fossil Free Amsterdam is part of a worldwide movement calling upon stakeholders to divest (that is, retract investments) from fossil fuels. This is important to speed up the transition towards green energy and prevent the forces of climate change from getting out of hand.
There are already 19 groups fighting for this cause in The Neterlands. They are targeting institutions like municipalities, universities, and pension funds. Our group focuses on the municipality of Amsterdam. We also hail our friends targeting Vrije Universiteit and Universiteit van Amsterdam. All groups in The Netherlands collaborate with gofossilfree.org and 350.org.
Climate change is mostly caused by the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). There is general consensus among both scientists and politicians that world temperature should not increase more than 2° C. This is an absolute limit – if breached, the consequences will be dire. It will cause a snowball effect, leading to a catastrophic temperature increase of 4 to 6° C
In order to prevent this threshold from being crossed, the fossil fuel industries need to keep 80% of their resources in the ground. By contrast, stock value prices are based on the assumption that all of these resources will be used.
It is clearly immoral to continue investing in fossil fuels . At the same time, these investments are becoming more risky because of the possibility humanity in the end (perhaps too late) will take climate change seriously and legally restrict the current possibilities of burning fossils. When this happens, the superfluous reserves will turn into stranded assets. This is what is referred to as the carbon bubble.
What the situation in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is a city with a strong ambition to promote and practice sustainability and CO2 reduction. Meanwhile, our city has the second largest coal harbor in Europe, and the world’s largest gasoline harbor. In Amsterdam, 70% of our electricity comes from coal (for more information, check out this document).
Although the municipality claims to be free from fossil investments because of being indepted, significant connections with the fossil energy industries can be found. In addition to the aforementioned harbors, the pension fund of the municipality invests in fossil fuels. There are ties with the Nuon Kolencentrale as well.
Therefore we urge the municipality to gradually and responsibly cut these connections with the fossil energy industries within five years. These are our demands:
- No new investments in fossil fuels should be made. Conduct an investigation within six months concerning current investments in and ties to the fossil industries, and publish the results. Divest possible investments within five years.
- Come up with a plan on how to turn the harbor of Amsterdam fossil free. We want to see a future-proof solution without the CO2 emissions from Nuon Kolencentrale, and a sharp decline of cole- and oil transport, paying extra attention to the effects on employment opportunities
Ask ABP – the pension for all civil servants in The Netherlands – to divest from fossil fuels in accordance with the wishes of a growing number of pension participants. For more information, visit divest ABP.
Ask ING and the Bank Nederlandse Gemeenten, (the banks of the municipality of Amsterdam) to guarantee money of the municipality is not invested in fossil fuels. If this cannot be granted, switch to another bank that can make this commitment. Make sure this guarantee is taken into consideration with every renewal of any bank contract.
What are we going to do?
Soon a letter with these demands will be handed over to the mayor of Amsterdam in the presence of the press. You can help this cause by signing our petition. This year we will organize a number of actions to draw attention to the petition and stress the urgency of climate change in general. The Climate Games will take place in july in Amsterdam.