A Hackney Conservative councillor last night praised Donald Trump’s view that climate change is a “myth”.
He hailed the President-elect’s remarks as the chair of the council’s pension committee gave his strongest indication yet that tens of millions of pounds currently invested by the council in the fossil fuel industry will be “divested”.
Cllr Harvey Odze’s apparent high regard for Trump drew horrified groans from the Labour benches.
He said a report by Cllr Rob Chapman about the risk posed by investing in the oil, gas and coal industry “was obviously prepared before the confirmation by President-elect Trump that climate change is a myth perpetrated by communist China”.
It is understood the council is now planning to shift many millions it invests in fossil fuels into alternative, green energy investments instead.
But Cllr Odze warned there were “risks in divesting from carbon and fossil fuels, and the political use of pension funds is illegal.”
Cllr Jon Burke, the Labour council’s sustainability chief, said: “Recourse to the opinions of President-elect Trump – frankly I think that speaks for itself. All I can say is: Thank you, Councillor Odze, for yet another opportunity to fill space in my future campaign material.”
Another Labour councillor, Geoff Taylor, said he wondered which other Trump opinions members of the Conservative group agreed with. He added: “To speak seriously, because obviously Trump is not serious…” But Cllr Odze interrupted him and cried: “Rubbish!”
Other highlights of the meeting included a motion condemning recent racist and antisemitic attacks locally and proposing various measures to help combat these. In a rare show of crossparty unity, this was passed unanimously.
Another motion, calling on Transport for London to revisit its decision not to proceed with a safety scheme at a major road junction in Stamford Hill, was opposed by Conservative councillors.
But since the Tories are in a minority on the council, the motion was passed.
At the full council meeting, the last before Christmas, tributes were also paid to former councillor Jacob Landau following his recent death.