Enviros call for DiNapoli to divest fossil fuels

Times Union | February 13, 2015 | Column by Rick Karlin

A panel of environmental organizations including Fossil Free and Green NY; 350.0rg; MoveOn; the Green Party and state Nurses Association is calling for Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to divest, over a period of time, oil companies from the state’s massive pension fund.

The estimate about 7 percent or $12 billion is invested in companies that develop fossil fuels such as oil or gas for energy. From their standpoint, the only way to truly tackle global warming is by hitting energy firms in the pocketbook, thereby forcing them to embrace alternative energy sources such as wind or solar.

The activists noted that Friday is Global Divestment Day, where people are rallying around the nation and world.

Some might wonder about the wisdom of staging a global warming event when it was 5 degrees outside with a predicted high of about 9 degrees. But these activists say it is the weather extremes we are experiencing, from the “Snovember” blizzard that hit Buffalo last fall to Superstorm Sandy that are a part of the long term, disruptive trend.

“The sooner we end our dependence on fossil fuels the better,” said climate activist Mark Schaeffer.

Here is their release:

Global Divestment Day is the first-ever global day of action focusing on fossil fuel divestment. In 48 countries, people will demonstrate the growing support for divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in renewable energy and green technology. Earlier this week, Norway’s sovereign-wealth fund, the largest in the world, announced that it has divested itself from 114 risky assets on environmental and climate grounds over the past three years

In Albany, citizens and stakeholders will hold a divestment news conference at the LCA press room at 11 AM. to call upon NYS Comptroller DiNapoli to rapidly divest the $180 billion Common Retirement Fund and invest in sustainable solutions. Other divestment events in NYS will take place in New York City and Syracuse .

For the past two years, citizens and stakeholders have been calling upon Comptroller DiNapoli to rapidly divest the $180 billion dollar Common Retirement Fund and invest in renewable energy and green technology. Our public pension fund should not contribute to climate destruction, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, food and water scarcity, negative impacts to human health and safety, and global instability. Our public funds should “promote the common good” and planetary survival.

A rally and informational leaflet will take place at noon in front of the State’s Comptroller Office.

By 2014, 180 institutions had divested citing climate or carbon risk as their motivation. There are now over 500 active divestment campaigns underway at universities, cities, churches, banks, pension funds and other institutions. Hundreds of events are now planned worldwide for Global Divestment Day in 48 countries spanning 6 continents. University and college students will hold flash-mobs, vigils, sit-ins and rallies calling upon their endowments to invest in a livable future. Faith leaders and people living on the frontline of climate change will band together to urge their communities to divest from climate destruction. In financial capitals, people will gather for colorful rallies calling on investors to break up with the fossil fuel industry and sever their ties once and for all.

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed: “I am asking you to lead. We must cut emissions. We must work together to mobilize money and move markets. We need all public finance institutions to step up to the challenge. Let us invest in the climate solutions available to us today.”

According to DiNapoli, “Climate change is among the most significant current problems facing humanity – it poses significant risks to public health, safety and the environment and it is almost impossible to overstate the potential long term threats.” Yet rather than divest from fossil fuels, he is promoting shareholder advocacy.

More details are here.


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@PAUSEnergy tweeted this page. 2015-02-15 12:20:25 -0500
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy posted about Enviros call for DiNapoli to divest fossil fuels on PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy's Facebook page 2015-02-15 12:20:25 -0500
Enviros call for DiNapoli to divest fossil fuels
PAUSE, People of Albany United for Safe Energy
PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.