Boston Mayor Wu Divests City Funds From Fossil Fuels
"This is a wonderful, wonderful place to start," said environmentalist Bill McKibben.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu delivers remarks after being sworn in on Nov. 16, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. Wu is the city's first woman and person of color elected to the post. Scott Eisen / Getty Images
The measure prohibits public investment in any financial instrument deriving more than 15% of its revenue from fossil fuels, as well as from tobacco products or jail or prison facilities.
“Boston, as a finance hub, is looked to for leadership. By signing this ordinance, Mayor Wu signals that she is serious [and] that Boston is serious” about pursuing climate goals, Mary Cerulli, founder of Climate Finance Action, told the Boston Globe.
Boston is increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and is already spending millions of dollars on short-term projects to prevent flooding in its subway system, the oldest in the country.
The ordinance does not apply to the city’s pension investments, which are governed by state law. The divestment ordinance is the latest in a growing drumbeat of divestment moves, including by New York City and Harvard University earlier this year.
As reported by the Boston Globe:
At the signing event, U.S. Senator Edward Markey — the author of the federal Green New Deal legislation — said Boston’s divestment represents “what a Green New Deal city looks like in the United States.”
“Boston is at the center of this dangerous science experiment which is taking place on this planet, with the fossil fuel companies using us as the experiment,” Markey said. “What the mayor is signing today is a declaration of independence from the oil, gas, and coal industries.”
At the signing on Monday, activists applauded Boston’s move. Activist, author, and educator Bill McKibben, who has led the divestment movement nationally, called Wu’s signing of the ordinance transformative — what he said would probably be the first of many decisions that will cement Boston as a leader on climate.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful place to start,” McKibben said. “To stand up to power and say: No more. Time now for real change before it gets any later.”
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