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Fellow CalPERS Members: Let’s Protect Our Pension Fund

By various - unamed CALPers members, February 10, 2021

In order to protect our pension, CalPERS needs to invest in solutions to the climate crisis and a Just Transition to a sustainable future.

What do we mean by a Just Transition? CalPERS must:

  • Stop investing in the declining fossil fuel industry and instead Invest in growing and profitable sustainable sectors with well-paying union jobs.
  • Unless we ensure that no worker is left behind as we transition to renewable energy, we will have failed the communities that are already harmed the most by fossil fuels.

Fossil Fuels Impact Vulnerable Communities and Workers the Most

  • Fossil fuel extraction, refining, and power plants create sacrifice zones where pollution causes higher rates of disease and respiratory illnesses. Communities of color and lower income communities are more likely to live in these areas.
  • Climate change contributes to wildfires, drought, coastal flooding, and hurricanes.
  • Climate change increases pregnancy risks, particularly for Black mothers.

Fossil Fuels Are Putting Our Pensions at Risk

If you have a pension with CalPERS, you are invested in fossil fuels. $30 billion of CalPERS investments are in the coal/oil/natural gas industry.

  • In 2019, CalPERS lost $1 billion on tar sands oil investments alone.
  • Fossil fuel investments have been losing money for 10 years, while the S&P 500 as a whole increased in value and outperformed them 2:1.
  • Fossil fuel investments are increasingly risky as the world transitions to more available and cheaper renewable energy - solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro.

As fossil fuel companies face dramatic losses, they lay off workers while continuing to pay hefty dividends to shareholders such as CalPERS. That money ought to go instead to a superfund for impacted workers and communities as part of a just transition.

CalPERS Board and staff refuse to divest - but continuing to hold will only ensure more losses, more pollution, and more injustice for workers.

Tell CalPERS to Stop Supporting Climate Chaos:

  • Sign the divestment petition at https://fossilfreeca.org/petition.
  • Ask your union local to pass a resolution to Divest/Reinvest
  • Support a Just Transition for all who are affected by fossil fuels.

Read the text (PDF).

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author.

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