CALLS for Strathclyde Pension Fund to stop investing in fossil fuel firms have been renewed ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

World leaders are set to arrive in November for the UN event and MSP Patrick Harvie wants Glasgow to “show it is serious” by “ending public investments in big oil and gas”.

The pension fund, operated by Glasgow City Council, invests £508m in fossil fuels, according to new research by Friends of the Earth Scotland.

But a fund spokesman said it had been an “activist investor” – pushing for improvements – and has put £500m into renewable energy in recent years.

It is currently “refreshing” its climate change strategy.

Mr Harvie, a Green MSP, said the fund should follow a more “socially responsible” strategy.

“The public don’t want to see these pension funds exacerbating the climate crisis, particularly when this cash could be invested into endeavours like green energy production, house building and public transport improvements,” he said.

“It’s time for Scotland to take a lead in tackling the climate crisis, and one of the most straightforward ways we can begin to do that is by ending these public investments in big oil and gas.

“Glasgow City Council must show it is serious about tackling the climate emergency by bringing its influence to bear and ending these obscene oil and gas improvements.”

Across Scotland, a total of £1.2billion has been invested in fossil fuels by council pension funds, the investigation reports.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The council’s climate emergency implementation plan already calls for pension funds to explore ways of divesting from fossil fuels.”

Last March, councillors on the Strathclyde Pension Fund committee delayed decisions on a climate strategy amid some scepticism over arguments against divestment.

A fund director said at the time that divestment “isn’t an appropriate means to tackle any issue”.

In response to Mr Harvie’s calls, the spokesman said the pension fund “recognises the climate emergency and is clear that, in addition to the obvious risks it presents for everyone on the planet, it presents specific risks for investors”.

“The fund also believes the global transition to a low-carbon economy is essential – and that includes the decarbonisation of its own investments.

“Historically, the fund has felt that divestment is a blunt tool in terms of securing that transition to a low carbon economy and not on its own radical enough to have a meaningful impact on the climate emergency.

“Instead, it has preferred to be an activist investor – pushing for improvements on everything from carbon disclosure and lowering emissions, while committing hundreds of millions of pounds into a range of renewable energy projects.

“However, the fund is currently refreshing and further developing its climate change strategy, including consideration of a net-zero objective.

“That process will also include consideration of future investment strategy – with input from the fund’s board and committee.”