THE Co-op Bank, and most building societies, are significantly different from the big five banks – they won’t invest in coal, oil or gas.

This has always been their policy but they have recently been joined by many other institutions that have decided to stop providing the oil and coal with capital. It began as a trickle and is now a torrent. It’s the opposite of investment, and is known as divestment.

The initial world wide divestment mobilisation week was as recent as May 6th -13th this year and within the UK and elsewhere there were many hundreds of groups striving to remove private and public funding from investing in coal, oil and gas developments.

Bradford Council has recently decided to support the need for the West Yorkshire pension fund to divest following the examples of Manchester and many London councils, and that is encouraging locally.

This change from reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy systems that don’t produce CO2 will certainly happen because of two main developments. One is this remarkable spread of divestment, reducing the capital available for new coal mines or oil and gas fields, with city councils such as Bradford and Oxford and now 43 universities all joining in.

However the other encouraging development is that we are almost at the point when renewable energy systems, particularly solar and land based wind, will be cheaper than fossil fuel generated power.

This will particularly be the case with the wider implementation of fossil fuel carbon taxes, as in British Columbia and Alberta in Canada. There an annually rising tax of tens of dollars is placed on a tonne of coal, and this revenue is then shared out equally to all adults.

This helps the poor who use less energy, at the same time reducing CO2 emissions.

Sounds just about right.