MUNICIPAL SUPPORT FOR
PENSION FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT
You can help get a divestment bill passed in 2023!
With the exception of a few large cities, most cities and counties in California have CalPERS invest the retirement funds of their employees. These municipal and county governments are already struggling with climate impacts caused by fossil fuel burning—but CalPERS holds about $27 billion of fossil fuel investments, which jeopardize the future of many cities and, adding insult to injury, risk CalPERS’ future earnings.
A number of cities have joined the fossil fuel divestment campaign! They’ve passed resolutions requiring any city investments they make to be fossil free and calling on CalPERS to sell off its climate-destroying fossil fuel holdings.
The campaign to divest the state’s pension funds from fossil fuels gathered tremendous momentum last year: SB 1173, authored by Sen. Lena Gonzalez and co-sponsored by FFCA, passed the Senate. Next year we’re going to get it over the top. We will introduce a similar bill in the spring of 2023, and we’ll be asking municipal governments to endorse it. You can help pave the way by asking your city to pass a resolution supporting fossil fuel divestment now.
Get your City Council or Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution supporting divestment from fossil fuels
1. Build a crew
Talk with neighbors and friends in your city who can help you map out a campaign, who may know members of the city council or board of supervisors, and might accompany you when you visit elected officials.
Environmental organizations, especially those that work on climate issues, can be a big help. Get in touch with any that are active locally or have local members.
2. Do your research
Find out whether your city has a citizen advisory council that deals with environmental issues. If your city has such a body, get in touch with its members, who are likely to be worried about climate change. Find out if the advisory body would be willing to recommend a resolution to the city council.
3. Get in touch
If your city doesn’t have a citizen advisory body, you’ll need to find a sympathetic council member to work with. If you don’t know your council members, attending a meeting or two to get a feeling for their political orientations and sympathies can be helpful; a number of cities now enable citizens to view meetings online if you don’t want to attend in person. Meeting dates, times and agendas are published on city websites. And ask your neighbors, and members of environmental organizations, whom they know on the council.
4. Schedule a meeting
Arrange to meet with the council member(s) you’ve identified as likely supporters. It’ll be helpful if you can arrange for the council member to meet with a small group of constituents. Bring a sample resolution or two with you, and make sure that everyone attending has been supplied with talking points. Ask the council member to agendize the resolution at an upcoming meeting.
5. Make your case
Attend the meeting when the resolution will be discussed! And bring other supporters with you. It’s really important to demonstrate support for divestment. You’ll have the chance to weigh in on behalf of the resolution by making a public comment.
If you’re nervous, write down the main points you want to make and bring them to the podium with you—but try also to respond to comments (both councilmember and public) made about the resolution during the meeting.
Don't forget to thank your supporters, send your resolution to firstname.lastname@example.org, and CELEBRATE your victory!
Join our Divestment Bill Team
Our Divestment Bill Team targets CalPERS, CalSTRS, and other public funds in California with legislative and executive initiatives around fossil fuel divestment.
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