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. Mackey a direct message.
Dear Mr. Joe Mackey,
I am writing today as a Vermont public school teacher concerned about climate change and especially the ways that my pension funds support 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 help promote a sustainable future instead of endangering one. Therefore, I call for the divestment of the assets of the State Teachers’ Retirement System invested in the 200 companies identified by Carbon Tracker as holding the largest stores of unburned carbon. I urge the Vermont State Legislature to pass legislation to create a plan to phase out these investments within five years and prevent new investment in these top 200 companies.
Climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s proposed business plans pose a pressing riskto our state pension funds. The fossil fuel industry currently holds 5 times the amount of carbon that could be burned while keeping the earth’s temperature from rising more than 2°C, a target that nearly every country in the world has agreed upon because of the potentially apocalyptic effects of moving beyond that level. Financial markets currently treat fossil fuel reserves as unrestricted assets. However, as governments move to control carbon emissions in an effort to mitigate climate change, the likelihood grows that fossil fuel assets will become stranded, leaving them valueless. If we continue to remain tied to past assumptions and ignore emerging trends, we will soon face increased risk and possibly severe losses to our retirement portfolio. Divestment sends a direct signal to the source of the problem, and the shift to investments in cleaner energywill result in a more resilient portfolio.
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 savings are not being invested in companies that are wrecking the planet for future generations, including the students I teach every day.
It is our responsibility to hold the livelihood of our children to at least the same level of importance as that of the current beneficiaries of the pension fund.
I urge you to act to remove my pension funds from assets held in the fossil fuel industry.