Global Divestment Day is coming!

NY climate march

In September, 400,000 people marched for the climate in New York — and 400,000 more worldwide. In February, we’re gathering to mark 
Global Divestment Day.

This has been a year of great successes for the divestment movement around the world, and Global Divestment Day February 13–14 will celebrate those successes. Here in California, Chico State and Humboldt State universities voted to get rid of all their investments in fossil fuel companies, as did the Foothill–De Anza and Peralta community college districts and Pitzer College. Several California cities joined the divestment bandwagon: Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Santa Monica, and Brisbane. Churches, foundations, unions, and other institutions also pledged to stop participating financially in wrecking the climate.

But much remains to be done. Some institutions have pledged only to divest partially: Stanford from coal stocks, San Francisco State University from tar sands and coal. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to divest, but the city’s retirement board has resisted implementation, thinking mistakenly that holding on to oil and coal stocks would be financially prudent. The University of California Regents have so far refused to support divestment, supposing that investing in renewable energy is enough to make up for continued investment in carbon pollution. And many groups have not even considered divestment. In the coming year, we need to convince many more universities and cities and other institutions of the urgency of our message.

The largest pools of dirty fossil fuel money in the state are held by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS). The boards of these pension funds, the two largest state funds in the world, have recognized the dangers of climate change and the risks associated with fossil fuel investments. But they have not yet taken the obvious next step: to purge their portfolios of these dangerous, dirty stocks and bonds. This is the year we call on CalPERS and CalSTRS to pledge complete divestment from coal, oil, and gas companies.

On February 13 and 14, as people around the world are marking Global Divestment Day, Californians will also focus on fossil fuel divestment. And you can participate. We want to make 2015 the year everyone agrees to leave fossil fuels in the ground for good.

Over the next month, we will be posting events taking place around the state. In the meantime, wherever you are, you can click here to find a Global Divestment Day event — or start your own.

This is a crucial year. President Obama is poised to make a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline soon, amid nationwide protests. Another study has just confirmed that we must leave 80 percent of fossil fuels in the earth if we want to avoid a catastrophic temperature rise above 2° Celsius. And the year will end with momentous climate talks in Paris, where world leaders will meet to face the existential crisis of global warming.

It’s clear that fossil fuels are history, and for the first time in years global climate action feels within reach. Help us make 2015 a real turning point!

Join us for Global Divestment Day on February 13–14!