50 signatures reached
To: City of Denver
Divest Denver From Fossil Fuels
We call on the City of Denver to immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds. Specifically, we call on the Denver City Council, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, and Denver’s Manager of Finance, Gretchen Hollrah to use the power of their positions to divest Denver from fossil fuels. Denver’s divestment must include all of the City’s funds, as well as the City’s Deferred Compensation fund, and a recommendation that the Denver Employees Retirement Plan (DERP) divest as well.
Why is this important?
Climate change is ravaging our state, nation, and planet with more wildfires, drought, higher food prices and extreme weather events. Hurricane Sandy relief exceeded $50 billion and in Colorado alone insurers estimated wildfire damage exceeded $450 million to personal property by July 2012. Not only are the economic costs of climate change becoming more prevalent, but the moral implications are more apparent. While climate change is severely impacting our quality of life now, it is young people whose future ability to thrive - and even survive - on our planet will be most impacted. Denver has a moral obligation to address climate change and divestment is a critical step in taking a stand for our city’s future, our children, and our planet.
We now know that the majority of proven fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. The math is simple: 1) almost every government in the world agrees we must keep global warming below 2 degrees to avoid catastrophic climate change, 2) to stay below 2 degrees we can only add about 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and 3) current proven fossil fuel reserves (fossil fuels already slated for extraction) equal about 2,795 gigatons of carbon dioxide, or five times more than we can release to maintain only 2 degrees of warming. Fossil fuel divestment is a financially and socially responsible way Denver can take action on climate change.
Fossil fuel divestment is financially responsible. Climate change is negatively impacting our local economy via effects such as increased wildfire frequency and intensity as well as decreased snow fall threatening our agriculture and tourism sectors. Therefore, it is in Denver’s economic interest to divest from an industry that contributes to costly climate disasters and extreme weather. Additionally, fossil fuel investments themselves are increasingly bad investments. While some argue divestment from fossil fuels could harm their portfolios, a recent analysis conducted for The Associated Press shows the opposite. The research firm S&P Capital IQ found that by one measure, endowments would have been better off had they divested 10 years ago. An investment in fossil fuels is a bet that the world will do nothing about climate change, that it'll stand idly by and watch events like the droughts, wildfires, and super storms of 2012 and not take any serious action. As Robert F. Kennedy Jr. puts it, "at some point, we have to acknowledge that, either we are going to destroy the planet or the oil stocks are over-valued."
Fossil fuel divestment is also socially responsible. As the urgency of taking action on climate change heightens, many communities, educational institutions, religious institutions, and other municipalities are joining the fossil fuel divestment movement today just as they did in the 1980’s during the anti-apartheid movement. Cities including Seattle and San Francisco have already pledged to divest from fossil fuels. As a responsible and respected leader in our region, Denver should divest from fossil fuels because, if it is wrong to cause catastrophic climate change, it is also wrong to profit from its causes. The bottom line is this: divestment is the only moral choice for governments that care about their citizens. Solving the climate crisis is the only practical choice for governments that care about their solvency.