Every single one of us is subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with our tax dollars, and we don’t even know it! That’s because nearly all public pension funds in the U.S. are invested in fossil fuel companies. That’s the retirement savings of every public school teacher, every local fire fighter, and all of our Mayors, County clerks, and other hard-working state and local officials being used to prop up the profiteers of climate chaos.
In many cases, the same first responders on the front lines of responding to climate chaos have their retirement funds invested in fossil fuel companies causing the problem.
One essential step in solving the climate crisis is to move our collective money – bank accounts, retirement funds, insurance coverage all of it – away from the fossil fuel companies that are causing the climate crisis, and instead invest in a just transition to a low-carbon economy based on renewable energy and green jobs. State Treasurers, Governors, and local elected officials have the power to divest these massive state and local pension funds. But they wont act unless we speak out together, and in support of bold youth-led movements like today’s.
It’s time to demand that our elected officials act to freeze all investments in fossil fuel companies and divest public funds from all direct and indirect investments in fossil fuels.
February brought an old fight back to the fore – the fight to stop Keystone XL. Trump has been trying to build the pipeline, without success, since he was sworn in in 2017. So far court cases and local permits have kept him at bay – but we’re waiting for the moment when Trump’s fossil-fueled-authoritarian tendencies overwhelm those flimsy buffers and they simply begin lighting the fuse of this carbon bomb without proper permits and paperwork.
May also launched our campaign to get disaster relief for Puerto Rico. This became a recurring theme as Congress would appropriate money for disaster relief, but Trump would refuse to sign or disburse the money – IF, and this is a big if, the people helped by the funding were black, brown, or tended to vote for Democrats. Later in the year we broadened this campaign to include climate refugees from the Caribbean and eventually the whole global south.
Climate Strike! That was the big theme in September as we supported hundreds of Climate Strike events here in the US. Greta Thunberg asked the United Nations “How Dare You” and I personally buckled in as part of two beautifully troublesome actions.
So there you have it! A year in photos and images to illustrate all our work. You can also check out our previous post which covers more of the science and policy on how we’re ending 2019. Next week, after the New Year, I’ll write you a message about our plans for 2020 but you can be sure it will continue a few of these themes:
Holding corrupt Trump cronies like Wheeler and Bernhardt accountable;
Working as part of the global Climate Strike movement to demand bold action from our elected leaders;
Pushing US policy makers to adopt a bold, fossil-fuel-free Green New Deal; &
Bringing you great direct-action powered online campaigns at the local, state, and federal level to demand climate action.
Monday night about 50 of us gathered at the historic Zion baptist Church in Columbia (where Dr King once spoke) for a community supper and teach in. We had reports and stories from all over Virginia, South Carolin, North Carolina and beyond about Dominion’s dirty, dishonest past, as well as a briefing on our plans for the shareholder meeting.
Here’s some video clips of the speakers from that night
Mary Cerulli from Mothers Out Front talked about our global power as a movement working with more than $2 trillion in assets to #Divest from fossil fuels and pipelines.
Greg Yost from NC APPPL talked about the fight against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and how the Carolinas (North and South) are connecting to stop this fracked gas pipeline.
Freeda Cathcart, Indivisible VA talked about the importance of coalitions and working together to make change:
And Finally, Rev Leo Woodberry, from the Justice First tour and New Alpha community development corporation brought it all together in a keynote address that had everyone on their feet marching in one big wave of solidarity by the end.
At the end of Rev Woodberry’s keynote, we had a community supper downstairs, where we heard some more about Justice First’s recent trip to Africa helping communities in Liberia and Sierra Leone set up solar power, and from Chief Pete of the Pee Dee Tribe who talked about struggles with environmental justice during and after the flooding from Hurricane Florence, as well as their concerns about the Atlantic Coast pipeline and harvesting of souther forests for biofuel.
Tuesday – the main event!
On Tuesday we gathered outside the Shareholder meeting and 8 shareholders were admitted in with proxies to address the meeting. The rest of us handed out about fliers And held banners outside so everyone knew our demands. At the end of the Shareholder meeting we held a press conference touching on Dominion activity inside and outside the shareholder meeting.
April 10 – Charlotte NC and all over the Country protesting at Chase and Wells Fargo branches, in particular.
April 24 – Bank of America Shareholder meeting in Charlotte NC; and
May 7 – Dominion Shareholder Meeting Columbia SC
Lots more events are being planned – so stay tuned and drop us a line on Facebook, on Twitter, or right here on the good old fashioned website if you have an AGM/Shareholder meeting you want help planning!
In 2015, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon supported the Paris Climate agreement and pledged and investment strategy “consistent with a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions.” But the report shows he’s been anything but consistent. In fact, Chase is the number one bank investing in fossil fuels with $196 billion invested in coal, Arctic oil and gas, fracking, tar sands, and other fossil fuels ― in the last 3 years alone!
Lots of European banks like BNP Paribas and ING Bank have taken steps to limit their funding of new fossil fuel projects. But US Banks are continuing to spend $1.9 Trillion on new fossil fuel projects ― and what’s worse, their investment in climate chaos is actually increasing.
But if we act together, we can make a difference. The Dakota Access pipeline got $2.5 billion of its $3.8 billion in total funding from banks like Chase and Wells Fargo. Without those loans, they simply wouldn’t have enough money to build new pipelines, coal terminals or fracked gas facilities.
Last April, a ton of us praised US Bank when they agreed to demands from Indigenous and climate activists (like us) to stop financing major oil and gas pipelines like DAPL. We warned at the time that US Bank was hedging its bets and hadn’t promised to Divest, yet.