Skip to main content

To: Vermont State Legislature

Divest Vermont’s Retirement Funds From Fossil Fuels

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’.


Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL


Reasons for signing

  • The world is at an ecological and moral crossroads. We must take steps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. I am a retired state employee, and believe that investments can be as or more lucrative for the state's pension funds if they move away from fossil fuels. It is a misguided approach to assume Vermont can influence these large corporations by "sitting at the table" with them. The real message is to take our money away from them and invest in other places. Deeds not words!
  • As a VT retiree, i would much rather have my funds invested in renewables than fossil fuels
  • We live in Vermont......we should be setting an example for the rest of the country/world. There is no reason NOT to divest, if invested properly investments return WILL NOT suffer!


2013-08-01 09:00:10 -0400

1,000 signatures reached