Resolution Calling for Divestment of Public Pensions from Fossil Fuels
Whereas, scientists agree that the burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change and climate change presents an existential threat to humanity; and
Whereas, public pensions are meant to provide a secure future for workers and investments in fossil fuel companies are antithetical to this purpose; and
Whereas, a failure to acknowledge the existential threat posed by fossil fuels and investment in theses funds will expose pension funds to great financial risk; and
Whereas, there will be no financial security on a dead planet; and
Whereas, the fossil fuel industry poses an existential threat to everyone’s future and continued investment in fossil fuels is immoral and an unacceptable financial risk; and
Whereas, over 1200 institutions and public governments, including New York City and the New York State Common Retirement Fund, have completed or are implementing commitments to divest from fossil fuel pension funds; and
Whereas, the traditional energy sector has been among the worst performers in the S&P 500 over the past decade and investment in fossil fuels has cost New Yorkers billions of dollars; and
Whereas, the New York State Pension Fund (the 3rd largest in the country) is in the process of shifting to an investment portfolio with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040; and
Whereas, the New York State Pension Fund has already divested from 22 coal companies; and
Whereas, not all public employee pension funds have signaled intent to divest from fossil fuel based investments; and
Whereas, there are no existing legal or fiduciary duties that require pension funds to invest in energy sources that are harmful to the environment and there are better performing investment options that do not present such harms; and therefore
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Troy Area Labor Council (AFL-CIO) strongly supports all efforts that aim to divest public pensions out of fossil fuels and into more sustainable and life preserving investment funds; and
BE IT RESOLVED, that the Troy Area Labor Council (AFL-CIO) calls upon its local elected officials, affiliates, delegates, the Capital District Area Labor Federation, and the NYS AFL-CIO to work the machinery of their organizations to organize and mobilize to make the divestment of public pension funds away from the death spiral of fossil fuels a reality.
The resolution passed unanimously.