May 20, 2015

California Democratic Party Endorses Fossil Fuel Divestment

Resolution calls for public universities & pension funds to divest holdings in coal, oil, and gas

Contact: RL Miller, [email protected] (818) 518-3470

Anthony Reyes, [email protected] (Sen. de Leon)

ANAHEIM — At the California Democratic Party convention this weekend, state party officials voted to adopt an official resolution endorsing fossil fuel divestment. Citing the growing threat posed by climate change, the resolution urges the state’s public universities and pension funds to divest their financial holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as part of a comprehensive solution to the climate crisis. The resolution marks the first endorsement for fossil fuel divestment from a state political party, and adds major momentum to the legislative push for S.B. 185, a coal divestment bill. The news also builds pressure on statewide institutions like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the University of California endowment, who have long faced calls for divestment.

The adopted resolution reads, in part: “[t]he California Democratic Party calls upon the University of California and California State University endowments, the University of California Retirement Plan, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) institutional pension funds, to immediately stop new investments in fossil fuel companies, to take steps, without risking any financial loss to its members, to divest all holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as determined by the Carbon Underground list within five years, and to release periodic updates to the public, detailing progress made toward full divestment.”

“As we approach crucial international talks in Paris later this year, the world is watching to see how California responds to the climate crisis,” said RL Miller, Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Environmental Caucus. “This resolution sends a strong message that our state is simply not willing to invest in companies who are cooking our planet in the name of profit, and that we have to take every available course of action. It will be crucial for legislators to heed that message, sent this weekend by Democrats across California, and pass S.B. 185 as an important first step before ensuring every single tax dollar is pulled out of companies who are the root cause of climate change.”

Twenty of California’s 58 county Democratic parties debated and signed on to the resolution, most over the last few months as awareness has grown.

“Our policies, technologies and global markets are all moving in concert away from these industries,” said President pro tempore of the California State Senate Kevin de Leon. “Coal is hands down the dirtiest form of energy on our planet. So why continue to invest our public employees’ retirement funds into this fading industry, especially given the multitude of health and environmental concerns it creates? My bill SB 185 would require CalSTRS and CalPERS to divest their coal holdings. The California Democratic Party’s resolution calling for support of divestment from fossil fuels proves that we look toward the future together and listen to the generations that will inhabit it.”

For full text of the resolution as adopted by the California Democratic Party, visit: http://www.cadem.org/admin/miscdocs/files/Final-Resolutions-Packet-adopted-051715.pdf.

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