It's time for California to take the lead. The Trump administration is oblivious to the looming climate catastrophe, and we have lost a powerful ally in Washington in the battle for a livable planet. We must step up.
California boasts the sixth largest economy in the world, with a GDP of 2.5 trillion dollars and 40 million people. Our state is a vibrant center of innovation and idealism — and it will continue to be an active generator of the ideas and initiatives needed to save the planet.
Divestment from fossil fuels is one of those initiatives, designed to erode the entrenched power of oil, gas, and coal companies. The California legislature and the state's influential pension funds now have an opportunity to provide the world with leadership, and Fossil Free California's divestment campaigns strive to be engaged with that momentum.
We Californians want to help mitigate climate change. Whether we're teachers, students, parents — or anyone concerned for the future of our state — we would all like to do something. But often our hectic lives prevent us from taking action.
The good news is that we can have a powerful impact collectively. It just takes a couple of minutes to add your voice to the thousands who have already urged CalSTRS to divest from all fossil fuels. Just be sure to sign our petition, if you haven't already.
You can also send a more personal message to the CalSTRS Board:
- Take a 30-second video selfie, explaining why you think it's important for CalSTRS to divest from all fossil fuels. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll forward it with all the other videos.
- Write a brief comment explaining why CalSTRS should divest from fossil fuels and email it to us. We'll share that too.
Students and parents, also encourage your teachers to sign!
Other ideas that require a little more time:
Divesting the largest US public pension fund
We have two active petition drives directed to CalPERS (and to CalSTRS too). One asks the funds to divest from all fossil fuels by 2020, starting with Big Oil companies like ExxonMobil.
The other urges the funds to divest from Energy Transfer Partners, which is trying to build the Dakota Access Pipeline.
CalPERS is the largest public pension fund in the country. In fact, globally it's outstripped only by the national pension funds of five nations. It's very big — $300 billion worth — and when CalPERS moves, other investors follow.
Fossil Free California would like to see CalPERS move more rapidly toward a sustainable, fossil free portfolio. We present petitions and public comments regularly at Board meetings, and we work with our allies to enact climate-friendly legislation in California. In 2015 we helped to pass SB 185, requiring that CalPERS (and CalSTRS) divest from companies that mine thermal coal, the kind used to fire power plants.
There is much to do, and you can help. Over the next year, we plan to continue:
- to promote divestment from oil and gas, beginning with Big Oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Shell
- to work with Board members to revise the current divestment policy and maintain CalPERS' reputation as a leader in socially responsible investing
- to contend that shareholder engagement is ineffective
- to support passage of municipal resolutions urging CalPERS to divest from all fossil fuels
- to collect signatures asking both funds to divest
- to press for additional legislation in California, including an expanded definition of fiduciary duty to include the effects of climate change
Please fill out our volunteer form and let us know how you'd like to help.
Purge carbon from your own investments
You can help keep fossil fuels in the ground and speed the transition to a clean energy economy. Just take a look at your personal finances and your own investments and get rid of all those dirty carbon polluters — ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, Peabody Coal, and all the rest of them. Moving your money is a powerful act that helps signal the end of fossil fuels.
For personal finance, our Move Your Money project provides resources for moving your checking, savings, and credit cards out of banks that finance fossil fuels and related infrastructure (pipelines, oil trains).
And if you want to get fossil fuel investments out of your portfolio, you're far from alone. More than 50,000 individual investors have already pledged to divest, investors with almost $5 billion in assets. Here's how you can get started:
- Sign a pledge to divest.
- Check your mutual funds to see if they include fossil fuel stocks or bonds.
- If you have a financial advisor, talk with him or her about your options for divesting.
- Learn more, using these additional resources — websites, documents, and presentations.
Questions? Send us an email here.
Note: Since we're not financial professionals, Fossil Free California does not provide direct investment advice. You should seek expert assistance regarding individual investments before making any decisions.