Open letter to the BMA calling for action on fossil fuel divestment

As health professionals and supporters of health divestment, we are calling on the British Medical Association to phase out its investments in fossil fuel companies and immediately commit to a fossil free future.

Three years after members of the BMA first called for divestment, we have yet to see a commitment to divest from fossil fuel companies that put public health at risk around the world.

To mark Global Divestment Mobilisation and ahead of this year’s Annual Representatives Meeting in June, Medact is asking for medical professionals to show support in calling on the BMA to show leadership on climate change.

Our letter will be delivered in concert with a letter from medical students organised by the global health student society, Medsin.

If you are a health professional, please support this letter by signing below.

To Keith Ward, CEO of BMA

Dear Keith Ward, CEO at BMA,

Unmitigated climate change threatens to undermine our health, environment and global security.

Under the UK’s Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement, the UK is committed to limiting warming to well below 2C and to aim for no more than 1.5C. This requires leaving the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves unburnt, creating the real possibility of fossil fuel assets becoming stranded – with profound implications for the global economy.

In November 2016 the UN Environment Programme confirmed the window on 1.5C global warming will close within three years, highlighting the urgency of the need to transition to clean energy.

We believe that fossil fuel divestment is one of the most effective means available to the organisation to accelerate the energy transition.

We agree with the view of the World Medical Association that health organisations have a moral responsibility not to invest in the industry that is driving climate change.

Moreover, we believe as doctors and health professionals we have a responsibility to show leadership on climate action, responsible investment and the management of climate risk through addressing the practices of our own investments.

Reputational risk is also a concern to us. Given that many large investors in the UK and globally have committed to divest, the health sector risks looking like it is taking a back-seat. Therefore we the undersigned are united in our aims:

  1. We call on the Trustees to uphold their fiduciary duty and examine their exposure to the financial risks associated with climate change;
  2. We call on the BMA to quantify, disclose and review their investments in fossil fuels;
  3. And we call on the BMA to commit to phasing out fossil fuel investments over an appropriate time-scale.
  4. Sincerely,

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