State and local pension funds – the retirement savings of people like firefighters, teachers and cops, among others – own most of the stock market, and are among the biggest investors in fossil fuels. If you add up all the pensions and public investments managed by cities, states and communities it’s hundreds of billions of dollars. Right now, a lot of that money is used to finance climate destruction. But things are changing.
All across North America, campaigns pushing for divestment of pension funds are ramping up and achieving huge victories. Earlier this year New York State began to divest its $245 billion pension fund from tar sands companies and New York City is ridding three of its pension funds of all fossil fuel investments. This week, all the attention is on Maine, which is the first state to pass a big divestment law through its legislature. That bill is waiting on the Governor’s signature, and could encourage a whole lot more cities and states to divest next.
Investments in fossil fuels aren’t just bad for the planet – they’re bad for investors and retirees too! Big coal, oil, and gas companies are underperforming compared to the rest of the market. It’s widely expected many fossil fuel companies will eventually become what’s called a “stranded asset” – meaning they’ll be stuck owning a lot of underground fossil fuels, drilling equipment and other stuff we no longer need to power our homes and communities – and stock values will plunge.
This bursting of the “carbon bubble” could cause losses greater than the 2008 financial crisis.
Grand-parents’ retirement funds should not be invested in a volatile industry that will destroy their grandkids future. Many of these companies are actively expanding fossil fuel infrastructure from the Line 3 and Line 5 tar sand pipelines, to fracked gas pipelines and export terminals.
We to divest from fossil fuels and support a just transition to a low-carbon economy built on renewable energy and good, union, green jobs. Sign now to demand that our elected money managers take action to freeze investment in fossil fuels and divest our pension funds to invest in a livable planet for all.