Paying our taxes enables the government to function and protect the public interest. Part of that responsibility includes investing in the pension funds of the public employees who carry out that work. But these pension funds are still invested in the polluters that are driving the climate crisis.
In fact, nearly all public pension funds in the United States are invested in fossil fuel companies.
Climate change is the greatest threat of our time, and already, we are feeling the impact of escalating floods, fires, heatwaves, and storms. These impacts will also be disproportionately borne by communities and nations least responsible for the climate crisis. Public money shouldn’t be invested in companies that contribute to global destruction and are the primary drivers of the climate emergency.
Will you tell your local elected officials to divest public pensions from fossil fuels?
What’s more, pension fund investments in fossil fuels actually put those retirement savings at risk. Coal, oil, and gas companies are underperforming compared to the rest of the market. It is widely expected that the assets of many fossil fuel companies will eventually become stranded, and stock values will plunge. When it bursts, the "carbon bubble" could cause losses greater than the 2008 financial crisis.
Pension fund fiduciaries have a duty to protect their beneficiaries from material risks, including climate risk. Failure to assess, acknowledge, and act on the climate risks of investing in fossil fuels could breach that duty, triggering not only financial risks but legal risks as well. To better serve their pensioners and all of humanity, public pension funds should divest from fossil fuels.
We must move away from investments in fossil fuels and support a just transition to a fossil-free future based on renewable energy and sustainable green jobs. It is time to demand that our elected officials act to freeze all investments in fossil fuel companies and divest public funds from all coal, oil, and gas producers.
More than 1,300 institutions with assets totaling more than $14 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels. Big pension funds like New York City’s are already taking action. It’s time for funds everywhere to follow suit. Inaction continues to fund the primary drivers of the climate crisis.
Click here to urge pension fund decisionmakers to divest from fossil fuels. It is time to stop funding climate chaos and start investing in a clear energy future.
Thank you for speaking up!
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