Coal divestment advances

JUNE 24: Today the California coal divestment bill, SB 185, cleared another hurdle. The Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security voted to send the bill to the Assembly Appropriations Committee by a vote of 5 to 1.

With this success, much remains to be done. You can help by signing this petition and contacting your Assembly Member. Legislators respond to their constituents, so be sure to let your voice be heard about this important legislation.

“I’m delighted to see SB 185 advance in the Assembly. California once again leads the nation in saying ‘no’ to fossil fuels and ‘yes’ to investment in clean energy jobs,” said RL Miller, chair of the California Democratic Party’s environmental caucus.

Carla West of 350 Bay Area also spoke. Carla, a California divestment organizer working with 350.org, said: “These pension funds are intended to secure a stable future, but that is impossible if we keep investing in fossil fuels. We are glad to see this bill to divest from coal pass through the first committee.”

Several other Fossil Free California members were at the meeting to demonstrate their support for the bill. Investment manager Jodi Neuman of Trillium Asset Management also gave the committee some hard data: fossil free investing has outperformed the S&P 500. Therefore, it would be financially responsible for them to support SB 185.

If passed by the Assembly and signed by the Governor, the bill will ban investments in thermal coal companies by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). It will be the first action by a state legislature in the US to mandate any kind of fossil fuel divestment.

You can learn more here about the devastating effects of coal pollution. It’s bad for the environment, for public health, and for the financial stability of California’s pension funds. To say nothing of its outsize contribution to global warming.

To keep the inevitable temperature rise at less than 2 degrees Celsius, we must stop burning coal. And we must stop investing in those companies that traffic in this dangerous carbon-based drug.

Please sign the petition now!

UPDATE: Watch the video of the committee meeting, including testimony from State Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, NextGen Climate COO Daniel Lashof, and investment managers from Trillium and Green Century. Thirteen more speakers announced their support, including Fossil Free California coalition members RL Miller of the California Democratic Party, Linda Rudolph of the Public Health Institute, Rick Guerrero of SEIU Local 1000, Chris Brown of 350 Sacramento, and Carla West of 350.org.

Cross-posted at 350 Bay Area.

 

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