Adding your name below will add you to our list of signatories, which will be delivered en masse prior to the 2016 legislative session. This page will not send Mr. Golonka a direct message.
Dear Mr. Tom Golonka,
I am writing today as a Vermont municipal employee concerned about climate change and the ways that my pension funds supports the fossil fuel industry. Given the strong consensus among climate scientists that burning fossil fuels is the leading cause of global climate change, I wish to see my funds removed from assets held in the fossil fuel industry, and reinvested in businesses that stand for a sustainable future. Therefore, I call for the divestment of the assets of the Vermont Municipal Employees’ Retirement System of interests in the 200 companies identified by Carbon Tracker as holding the largest stores of unburned carbon. I urge you to support legislation to create a plan to phase out these investments within five years and prevent new investment in these top 200 companies.
Municipalities are paying for climate change now– through recovery funds for extreme storms, in lost revenue when when the ski season shrinks, and through impacts to our agricultural industry. The Agency of Natural Resources estimates that the state highway system suffered up to $250 million in damages from tropical storm Irene, and that the destruction of crops and farmland cost over $10 million. Alan Betts, an atmospheric researcher funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation notes in a report prepared for ANR that the average winter temperatures in New England rose 4 degrees between 1970 and 2000. Betts warns that Vermont should expect rainier winters and more frequent and torrential “extreme” weather events such as Tropical Storm Irene. This bodes poorly for the ski industry and tourism. In Bill McKibben’s words, “Why would we pay tens of millions to try and recover from Irene and at the same time support those corporations making the next Irene inevitable?” We must move our money to protect our state’s future.
Vermont has a reputation as an environmental leader, and withdrawing our financial support from the fossil fuel industry will uphold and further this legacy. Fossil fuel divestment is a clear way for Vermont to live up to its values and help society address this crisis. As a recipient of Vermont pension funds, I want to be assured that my money isn’t being invested in companies that are standing in the way of a clean energy future.
I urge you to vote to remove my pension funds from assets held in the fossil fuel industry.