Nobody's buying coal


Fossil fuel divestment is a campaign that's snowballing—if you'll excuse a mixed metaphor. In just the last month San Luis Obispo, California, and Corvallis, Oregon, have voted to divest. The University of Hawaii and the Rhode Island School of Design have done the same. And the University of Washington decided to divest from coal, as did the $900-billion Government Pension Fund of Norway.

Coal, in fact, is the easy one. No fossil fuel is more harmful to health, more destructive of the environment, or more of an accelerant to global warming. So it's great news that many institutions not yet ready to make the leap to total carbon divestment are purging their portfolios of coal companies.

Last week the California Legislature took a giant step in that direction. Senate Bill 185, which has cleared the state Senate, was overwhelmingly approved by the Assembly Retirement Committee. If enacted, the bill would require the two largest state pension funds in the US to divest from coal.

Coal is a bad investment

There is one additional fact about coal that sometimes gets lost in the flurry of describing its murderous impact: coal is a bad investment. And it's been moving in a negative direction for some time. 

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Watch SB 185 Assembly hearing

On June 24, the California Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security approved SB 185, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León's coal divestment bill, by a vote of 5 to 1. The bill now goes to the Appropriations Committee and then to the floor of the Assembly.

Here is a video of the hearing. It includes testimony from Senator de León, NextGen Climate COO Daniel Lashof, and investment managers from Trillium and Green Century. Thirteen more speakers announced their support, including Fossil Free California coalition members RL Miller of the California Democratic Party, Linda Rudolph of the Public Health Institute, Rick Guerrero of SEIU Local 1000, Chris Brown of 350 Sacramento, and Carla West of 350 Bay Area.

Be sure to sign our petition addressed to Assembly Members.


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