A REPORT by climate change campaigners reveals Oxfordshire County Council has invested almost £133 million in fossil fuels through the authority's pension fund.

Campaigners say the controversial investments, the details of which were released today, threaten the climate and also represent an unacceptable financial risk to pension-holders.

Al Chisholm, from Fossil Free Oxfordshire, said: “It’s shocking to see our council investing so significantly in such a financially risky and morally bankrupt industry.

"Two years ago, our government agreed to the Paris Treaty - pledging that the UK, along with the rest of the world, would take real action to tackle climate change."

He added: “The Council Pension Fund recently adopted a new Investment Strategy Statement in preparation for joining the Brunel Pension Partnership next year.

"It specifically includes risk due to climate change and the sooner it stops investing in the companies responsible for the crisis the better.

"It flies in the face of all the efforts being made locally to reduce emissions and combat climate change.”

Data and an online map released by 350.org, Platform and Friends of the Earth ranks councils by their fossil fuel investments, and allows residents to see every company or fund their local council has invested in.

Across the UK, council pension funds invest a total of £16 billion in oil, coal and gas companies. 

Pete Wallis, member of the Oxfordshire pension scheme and a Fossil Free Oxfordshire supporter said: “As a council employee I’m deeply uncomfortable that my pension is being invested in companies that are still exploring for new sources of fossil fuel.

"Our councils, and all public institutions, must cut their ties with the fossil fuel companies responsible and divest.”

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Paul Smith said it was the Oxfordshire Pension Fund Committee which managed the Oxfordshire Local Government Pension Scheme on behalf of more than 150 employers across the county, including the county, city and district councils.

He added: "Legal opinion obtained by the national Shadow Scheme Advisory Board states that the first duty of all Pension Fund Committees is to the membership of the scheme and that they cannot place ethical and other social, environmental and governance factors above the requirement to maximise the investment returns for a given level of risk.

"In its published Investment Strategy Statement, the committee recognises that environmental, social and corporate governance issues, including climate change can have a materially significant investment implications, and as a responsible investor the committee therefore considers such issues in all investment decisions.

"The committee believe that engaging with their investee companies on all issues to deliver long term change delivers a more responsible investment approach than a blanket decision to divest from any group of companies."

Mr Smith said the committee was working alongside the other pension funds within the Brunel Pension Partnership, which include the Environment Agency Pension Fund and the local government funds for Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, to further develop their approach on these issues.