Münster first German city to divest from fossil fuels

The German city of Münster, based in North-Rhine Westphalia, is the first German city to divest from fossil fuels, the cities’ finance committee announced today.

The move follows a campaign called Fossil Free Münster initiated by Münster citizens and has the backing of the local Social Democrat / Green Party coalition as well as that of the Left Party and the Pirate Party.

The new investment guideline, which will enter into force as of Janauary 2016, will enforce a significant alternation of the citites’ investment portfolio, which currently holds about €22 million in coal, oil and gas producing companies.

It will also affect six neighbouring municipalities who share their pension fund with the city of Münster and will now have to consider whether they will endorse the move. This includes the city of Bochum, historically a mining city, the local municipality still holds €6.5 million in German energy giant RWE.

The federal state of North Rhine Westphalia is the industrial heartland of Germany and responsible for about a third of Co2 emissions in Germany.

While Münster is the first city in Germany to divest, it follows the lead of Oslo, which announced divestmentsfrom fossil fuels last month, and  San Francisco and Seattle, which have divested from fossil fuels in 2013.

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