Mar 13, 2017 - Divestment Activists Target Seattle’s Pension Fund over Investments in Fossil Fuels

Following Seattle’s historic divestment from Wells Fargo, activists are now calling on the City to unload its $2.5 billion pension fund from all fossil fuels.

Climate Justice requires us to move away from what is harming our communities. Seattle’s investment in fossil fuels is irresponsible when there are sources for renewable energy that we should be harnessing in a transition towards a healthier relationship with our ecosystems and environment.” said Rashad Barber of Seattle-based environmental justice group, Got Green.

Rachel Heaton (Muckleshoot) speaks at pension fund divestment campaign kick off. photo by Ben Mater

The movement to divest from fossil fuels started back in 2011 on just a few university campuses. Over the next six years it grew to become the largest divestment movement in history, with over $5.44 trillion now committed to some form of divestment from fossil fuels. Institutions committed to divestment include the World Council of Churches, the Californian State employee pension board and the entire nation of Ireland.

Yet, despite this, the City of Seattle’s pension fund is still heavily invested in coal, tar sands and other fossil fuel corporations, whose basic business models cause disproportionate harm to communities of color and Native people and are dependent upon causing catastrophic climate change.

But what is more, Seattle is not only failing in its stated environmental justice mission by remaining invested in fossil fuels, they are losing money by doing so!

Over 150 divestment advocates recently delivered a financial report to Mayor Murray that shows that the city pension fund has lost $65 million by remaining invested in fossil fuels over the last ten years.

Even the City’s own economists have started speaking out in favor of divestment. Dr. Bruce Flory, principal economist at Seattle Public Utilities, said recently that: “The stock value of fossil fuel companies reflects expectations of their future profits which are based on their known reserves and the assumption that those reserves will be fully exploited. But the survival of human society depends on most of those reserves being left in the ground. When this fact becomes clear to the market, the value of fossil fuel stocks will crash. Smart investors will have already divested.”


Alec Connon 350 Seattle speaking at pension fund divestment kick off campaign. Photo by Ben Mater

Dr. Flory is one of almost 400 hundred pension fund members who have signed a petition calling on the city to divest from fossil fuels.

If you want to support this campaign you can do so by doing two things

1- Call Mayor Murray and ask him to support divestment. Call number and script are here.

2- Take thirty seconds to send Mayor Murray an email.

We commend Seattle for divesting from Wells Fargo, but in the Age of Trump and his racist cronies we Seattle needs to continue aligning its money with its values.

As we have seen with the Wells Fargo divestment spreading like wildfire across the country, when we do this, others follow.

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