For several months I have had meetings with a number of local elected officials asking for them to support fossil fuel divestment resolutions targeting state pension funds CalPERS and CalSTRS. Those on the fence about divestment want to err on the side of caution. A vote for divestment could mean a vote for losing money.
However, according to a new report by Trillium Asset Management, state pension funds lost $5 billion in fossil fuel holdings last year. Hundreds of pension fund beneficiaries have sought divestment over the last three years, and had CalPERS and CalSTRS listened, they could have avoided significant losses. Granted, these funds are doing well overall. But if the concern about divestment is that it will lose people money, let’s put that concern to rest. Divesting from fossil fuels won’t lose us money, it will save us money.