Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

California Pension Funds Lost More Than $5 Billion From Fossil Fuel Holdings

Energy

A new report released yesterday from Trillium Asset Management found that California’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, incurred a massive loss of more than $5 billion in the last year alone from their holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies. The funds, combined, incurred a loss of $840 million from stock investments in the world’s largest coal companies. Together, the two influential and enormous pension funds represent a total of nearly 2.6 million members in the state.

A new report released yesterday from Trillium Asset Management found that California’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, incurred a massive loss of more than $5 billion in the last year alone from their holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies.

This report comes as S.B. 185, a bill to divest CalPERS and CalSTRS from coal, awaits a vote in the Assembly. The bill has already jumped major hurdles through the State Senate and an Assembly Policy Committee. If passed through the Assembly, the bill will make its way to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown, where he will will either affirm California’s position as a climate leader, or fail to take climate action he has acknowledged as necessary.

"This is a material loss of money, which directly impacts the strength of the pension fund," said Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management. "Fossil fuel stocks are volatile investments. Investors and fiduciaries should take this moment to reassess their financial involvement in carbon pollution, climate disruption and the financial risk fossil fuels plays in their portfolio."

Just last week, Bloomberg News reported that CalPERS lost $40 million in market value from investments in a single oil company.

S.B. 185, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, is one of eleven bills included in the California Climate Leadership Package. Other noteworthy bills include S.B. 350 and S.B. 32, which call for significant reductions in fossil fuel use and emissions, as well as an increases in the use of renewables to generate electricity and energy efficiency.

"On behalf of teachers across the state, I have been urging CalSTRS to take our investments out of fossil fuels,” said Jane Vosburg, a CalSTRS member and organizer with Fossil Fuel California. “Financial experts have long warned about the high risk of fossil fuel investments. Teachers' pension funds should not be invested in an industry that threatens human civilization. Morally, divestment is the right thing to do; financially it’s the smart thing to do."

Members of the California State Assembly will return from summer recess August 17, upon which they will vote on S.B. 185, 350, 32 and other key bills.

The campaign for S.B. 185 is part of a growing worldwide push to divest the financial holdings of universities, religious institutions, pension funds and other investors from fossil fuel companies. For more information on S.B. 185, click here.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Carbon Emissions Falling Fast as Wind and Solar Replace Fossil Fuels

The Price Is Right on Clean Energy

21 Youths File Landmark Climate Lawsuit Against Federal Government

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less
Spring Break vs. COVID19: The Real Impact of Ignoring Social Distancing

By Eoin Higgins

A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.

Read More Show Less
Aerial shot top view Garbage trucks unload garbage to a recycle in the vicinity of the city of Bangkok, Thailand. bugto / Moment / Getty Images

German researchers have identified a strain of bacterium that not only breaks down toxic plastic, but also uses it as food to fuel the process, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less