A FORMER SNP minister is among a cross-party group of politicians calling on the Scottish Government and Parliament to end investment in fossil fuel companies.

Marco Biagi has joined former Labour leader Jackie Baillie and Scottish Greens co-convenor Patrick Harvey to make the demand ahead of discussions tomorrow over the Scottish Parliament pension fund.

The fund currently has no ethical policy and invests more than £1 million in oil, gas and coal companies – despite Parliament pledges to tackle climate change.

A total of 15 MSPs and former MSPs have signed up to the Divest Scotland Campaign which is supported by Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES).

“Pensions need to be funded through safe, long-term investments but I won’t be collecting mine until a decade after Scotland aims to be carbon neutral,” said Biagi, former local government minister.

“We need to get fossil fuels out of the retirement portfolio long before that. The industry can’t go on like it is, and, if it does, the consequences for everyone in the world will be dire. If we have energy investments they should only be in renewables – it’s both the responsible and the sensible choice.”

More than 1000 organisations globally have made commitments to divest from fossil fuels with a combined worth of $8.77 trillion. A total of 10 commitments have come from Scottish organisations, including the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“Fossil fuels are fuelling the breakdown of our climate and have no future on a safe planet,” said Green Party MSP Alison Johnstone.

“As politicians we should be leading the way on the transformation of our economy into one that delivers prosperity without costing lives and destroying our precious environment.

“As MSPs we need to use our pension funds to back this change, and that means divesting from fossil fuels. I hope support for this campaign sends a strong message to the Pension Trustees that now is the time for them to go fossil free.”

Environmental campaigners celebrated the MSPs’ pledges, many of which have been secured by the efforts of local activists. People across Scotland are demanding urgent action to address the climate emergency,” said Ric Lander, FoES divestment campaigner.

“MSPs can respond by putting their own house in order, divesting their own pension fund from fossil fuels and making a commitment to investing in a just transition to a zero-carbon economy.

“This simple, practical step by MSPs would send a strong message that they are willing to bank on a greener Scotland that’s fairer and healthier for people and planet.”

A campaign calling for divestment of the Westminster pension fund has been backed by more than 250 MPs, including 33 SNP MPs.

Scottish Labour MSP Claudia Beamish said sustainable investment was key in the delivery of a net zero economy.

“We’re in the midst of a climate crisis, but investment in green jobs has plummeted in the UK and jobs in renewable energy are being lost overseas,” she said. “This challenge needs an urgent response at all levels.

“The time has come for the Scottish Government and Parliament to begin ethical environmental investments for a sustainable future, for workers, communities, children, and grandchildren.

“This leadership and solidarity will give assurance that, when planned for over an appropriate timescale, we can all confidently see divestment from fossil fuels, and positive investment in a just transition to a net-zero emissions economy and society.”

Campaigners also want the Scottish Government to announce an ethical policy for the new Scottish National Investment Bank. They say that without one, it could lend to companies which harm the environment, undermining the work of the Parliament in other areas.

The other new signatories to the Divest Scotland Campaign are Greens Andy Wightman, John Finnie and Ross Greer, Labour’s Claire Baker, Daniel Johnson, Jenny Marra and Iain Gray, and independent Mark McDonald.