City and County Divestment
California’s cities and counties have important roles to play in the divestment movement. Since pension funds are major holders of fossil fuel stocks, and state and local government workers depend on those funds for retirement security, municipalities have a real interest in the nature of the funds’ investments.
California is a pension fund powerhouse. The California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, has more than 1.6 million members and retirees in California, from more than 3,000 public agencies and school district employers. It is the largest public pension fund in the U.S. The California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS), with more than 860,000 members, is the largest educator-only pension fund in the world—and the second largest public pension and in the country. A number of large cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San José, have their own pension funds.
Around the state, city councils and county boards of supervisors are considering, and passing, resolutions or policies urging these funds to divest from fossil fuel stocks. Their instructions to CalPERS/STRS can take a variety of forms.
California cities are also divesting from banks and businesses involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline.
- The City of Davis is divesting $124 million from Wells Fargo.
- The City of Alameda has also pledged to divest more than $36 million from Wells Fargo. In addition, Alameda will prohibit Wells Fargo from even applying to be the city's bank for three years.
- Santa Monica is also vowing to end its relationship with Wells Fargo as it moves to withdraw $1 billion over the DAPL issue.
For more information on divesting from DAPL, visit defundDAPL.org.
Municipal Actions on Fossil Fuels Divestment
- City of Berkeley Policy Statement
- City of Brisbane Letter to CalPERS
- City of Fairfax Resolution
- City of Oakland Resolution
- City of Richmond Resolution
- City of Palo Alto Resolution
- City of Sunnyvale approved the following Legislative Advocacy Position for 2016:
"Support legislation to limit or eliminate direct investment of public funds to support the production or drilling of fossil fuels."
Municipalities With Own Pension Funds
For more information, or to add updates to this page please contact Emily Laskin, municipal campaigns co-lead for Fossil Free California.