The impacts of climate change are being felt through disruptive drought conditions, inconsistent rains, severe storms and wildfires that have hit the Western Cape displacing many families. Addressing the accelerating risks of climate change is a moral imperative for our cities and communities. That is why 350.org calls on Cape Town to demonstrate local leadership, and divest from fossil fuel stocks, bonds and investments.  

We are petitioning Cape Town to stop investing in companies that profit from fossil fuels, the main cause of climate change – by shunning the desirability of fossil fuel assets, freezing new investments in fossil fuels, selling off existing fossil fuel assets and joining 8 global C40 cities leading on local activities related to climate change.

While we acknowledge that Cape Town has taken numerous actions to tackle the climate crisis, if the public money that Mayor De Lille and her leadership team manage continues to be invested in companies burning fossil fuels, the good work that has already been done by the city will be rendered worthless.

As the world faces the reality of intensifying climate risks, C40 cities must act at the local level to keep the momentum of climate action going.  Cities within the C40 Network represent 650 million people, 25% of global GDP and 15% of global carbon emissions. Like many member cities, Cape Town consumes an abundant amount of fossil fuel resources largely responsible for climate change. It is time for City, to take on new leadership and be a part of real, long-term solutions by joining the growing, global divestment movement.  

As the expansion of coal mining and fracking threaten South Africa’s water resources, we have to seriously reconsider our actions regarding development and energy security and steer away from systems and processes that exacerbate social, economic and ecological pressures associated with climate change.

Divestment can have a serious impact and send an important message allowing public officials to act locally. They can play an important role in managing the climate crisis by aligning their financial powers with their climate intentions. By joining the movement to divest from fossil fuels, Cape Town can make a strong and profound statement that profiting from climate disruption and its ever increasing human toll is morally bankrupt and fiscally irresponsible.

Let’s get Cape town to be on the right side of history.