To: Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii

Divest Hawaii's Employees’ Retirement System from Fossil Fuels

Divest Hawaii's Employees’ Retirement System from Fossil Fuels

We call on the Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii to divest from fossil fuel industries. Should the trustees find themselves unable to act, we urge the Hawaii State Legislature to pass legislation to create a divestment plan to phase out these investments.

The Employees’ Retirement System is a Hawaii State government entity and manages over $12 billion. The ERS provides retirement, disability, survivor, and other benefits to more than 112,000 members. The membership is comprised of retirees, beneficiaries, inactive vested members and active public employees working for the State & Counties of Hawaii.

Hawaii is at the forefront of a global move to renewable energy and is extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As a major tourist destination our "environment is our economy".

We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars.

Experts agree that global warming will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of the known global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.

The Employees’ Retirement System is responsible for the long-term retirement benefits of its members. It is counterproductive to invest in companies that are furthering climate change and thereby undermine the viability of our State.

Market analysts at HSBC have warned oil and gas companies, including BP, Shell and Statoil, that they could face a loss in market value of up to 60% should climate legislation be agreed upon. Their prediction is based on an ‘unburnable carbon’ scenario – a scenario where it is agreed to keep oil and gas reserves in the ground in order not to elicit runaway climate change. The analysts agree that the oil market is still failing to think about a low carbon future – ‘because of its long-term nature, we doubt the market is pricing in the risk of a loss of value from this issue’. This makes investments in carbon fuels highly risky.

As the Employees’ Retirement System naturally has to have a long-term outlook regarding its investments, divesting from fossil fuel industries is financially prudent.

A detailed paper written by investment advisors is available here:
http://gofossilfree.org/files/2013/05/Resilient-Portfolios-and-Fossil-Free-Pensions.pdf

We therefore ask the Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Hawaii to divest from fossil fuel industries.

Why is this important?

We want that Hawaii State retirement funds are not invested into fossil fuel industries. On a financial basis, the retirees may lose out if the fossil fuel companies fall in value. On a moral basis, it is wrong to profit from wrecking the climate. On a local basis Hawaii needs to combat climate change for its own survival. Please join our petition.

How it will be delivered

The signatures will be delivered in person.

Honolulu, HI

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Reasons for signing

  • Why are we paying to further destroy our Earth? Living in Hawaii, we have bountiful resources to utilize that would be able to create clean energy. It's time to take action once and for all!

Updates

2015-02-12 18:32:33 -0500

25 signatures reached

2013-11-17 20:58:44 -0500

10 signatures reached