We’re quitting fossil fuels
We’re asking the District of Columbia government to stop investing in fossil fuel companies.
Fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas emit the greenhouse gases that are polluting our air, increasing the frequency of devastating storms, baking our croplands, and flooding coasts. These climate change impacts are driven by fossil fuel companies that profit through the destruction of our planet and that will lose out if we transition to clean, affordable energy alternatives.
Our campaign has come a long way. In June of 2016, we announced that, as a result of our lobbying and support from a wide range of legislative champions, community partners, financial experts, and environmental advocates, the city’s major pension fund had divested from all direct holdings in fossil fuels—an enormous achievement that serves as a testament to the moral and financial urgency of fossil fuel divestment, and is also a bellwether for further climate action.
We started this campaign because Washington, DC invested its retirement funds and our tax dollars in some of the most polluting fossil fuel companies on the planet, including Exxon, Chevron, Arch Coal and many others. By investing the city’s funds in these companies, DC bankrolled climate change, poor air quality, sea-level rise, and climate migration. These impacts place the heaviest burdens on lower-income communities, children, and the elderly. If we think about it for a second, it doesn’t make sense for the city to invest in climate change on one hand while making plans to “green” the city through Sustainable DC and the city’s Climate Action Plan.
At the same time, recent research shows that if governments, companies and citizens take action on climate change, 80 percent of the fossil fuels that companies consider “assets” can never be burned, meaning those companies are very overvalued. This makes fossil fuel investments not only unethical, but financially risky in the long-term.
It’s time to stop investing in climate change
There is a new movement of cities, universities, governments, non-profits, foundations and responsible businesses voting with their dollars, taking fossil fuel stocks out of their endowments, pension funds and cash funds.
Building on this movement, in December 2014, DC Council unanimously passed a Sense of the Council Resolution (PR 20-1118) that recognizes the immediate and “substantial global risks” posed by climate change, calling on the District of Columbia Retirement Board and Chief Financial Officer to “explore all means possible for minimizing the District’s involvement with companies with the largest fossil fuel reserves.”
We as citizens need to show our elected officials — who are often under intense pressure from lobbyists to maintain the fossil fuel status quo — that taking action on climate change is a priority over short-term economic gain. Our city leaders just need support and guidance to take this next step.
Join us in calling for the District of Columbia to quit fossil fuels.