1,000 signatures reached
To: Vermont State Legislature
Divest Vermont’s Retirement Funds From Fossil Fuels
We call on the Vermont State Legislature to divest the assets of the State Teachers’ Retirement System of Vermont, the Vermont State Employees’ Retirement System, and the Vermont Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of interests in any company which has as a principal business the extraction, production, or manufacture of fossil fuels, and shall not invest in any such company. We urge the Vermont State Legislature to pass legislation to create a divestment plan to phase out these investments within five years.
Why is this important?
Vermonters are paying for climate change - recovery funds to repair our state from Irene’s destruction, lost revenue when Lake Champlain floods or when the ski season shrinks, impacts to our farmers and our agricultural industry. In Bill McKibben’s words, “Why would we pay tens of millions to try and recover from Irene and at the same time support those corporations making the next Irene inevitable?” Fossil fuel companies are a bad investment both for the planet and for our pocketbooks.
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 global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.
Regarding the pocketbook, market analysts at HSBC have warned oil and gas majors, including BP, Shell and Statoil, that they could face a loss in market value of up to 60% should the international community stick to agreed emissions reduction targets. Their prediction is based on an ‘unburnable carbon’ scenario – a scenario where oil and gas falls to keep atmospheric concentration below 450ppm. The analysts argue 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’.