Category Archives: Blog

Seattle Pension Board Puts Retirees First, Rejects Divestment

Good news came out of Seattle this week, as the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) Board voted to reject a measure to divest the fund of energy holdings. Regarding the decision, the SCERS memo read:

While we are concerned with the profoundly negative impact that climate change is having on our environment, divesting … would negatively affect expected investment performance, even if pursued on a limited scale (e.g. only coal) or if pursued over many years.

Jason Malinowski, chief … Read More

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Cambridge, MA Should Not Follow in the Divestment Footsteps of Somerville

It is a fact that good ideas get copied by others. The inverse, however, can also apply, and when it comes to the bad idea of divestment, those bad ideas come with real costs to pensioners.

With the city of Somerville, Massachusetts divesting their municipal pension fund of traditional energy assets, some divestment advocates are calling for this bad idea to be replicated elsewhere, such as in neighboring Cambridge. A recent letter to the editor written by a Cambridge resident … Read More

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Coalition Leaders Tell California Senate: Protect Pensions, Reject AB 20

In anticipation of the California State Senate hearing on Assembly Bill 20 on July 10, California members of Protect our Pensions sent a letter urging lawmakers to take politics out of pension decisions, and to reject this costly legislation.

The bill, introduced in late 2016, is designed to pressure the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to divest from businesses involved with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a project that is already … Read More

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Editorial: California Insurance Commissioner’s Divestment Rationale “Doesn’t Pass the Laugh Test”

The push to inject politics into investment decisions has spread beyond just pensions and has permeated to other sectors as well. Most recently, 13 state officials signed onto a cease and desist letter to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who has used his position to pressure insurance companies to divest from traditional energy assets.

The editorial board of The Oklahoman spoke out against the initiative as well, explaining just why the Mr. Jones’ crusade is harmful to consumers far beyond … Read More

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Orange County Register Op-ed: “AB 20 Would Worsen California’s Public Pension Crisis”

AB 20, the controversial bill designed to pressure CalPERS and CalSTRS to divest of funds of companies involved in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), received more bad press today. The  Orange County Register published an op-ed calling the legislation “problematic” and highlighting the negative effect of divestment on the state’s pension funds.

Economist Dr. Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute stressed what the effects of increasing the pension shortfall would be:

Without properly accounting for risk,

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Pittsburgh to Lose Nearly Half a Million Dollars a Year if Pension Funds Are Forced to Divest

As a part of the response to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto issued an executive order that called upon the municipal pension funds to be divested from fossil fuels by 2030. This week, experts announced just how much they estimated the city could stand to lose from such a move, and announced the amount to be $500,000 annually.

The researchers also noted that the losses that Pittsburgh would suffer would have only symbolic effect … Read More

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Seattle Throws Pensioners Under the Bus to Attract Attention

Seattle has long been an outspoken advocate for various causes and the environment is no exception. After the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Accord, many cities and states, along with Seattle, reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement.

Recently the Seattle City Council passed a resolution committing the city to uphold the Paris Accord. However, one of the recommendations in the resolution was the divestment from energy companies of the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS), the municipal pension system of … Read More

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Coalition Members Urge San Francisco Retirement Board to “Put the Needs of SF Retirees First”

With the members of San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System set to meet to discuss, among other issues, the topic of divestment, members of Protect our Pensions took to the pages of the San Francisco Examiner to urge the board to consider the negative consequences to pensioners that such a decision would cause.

Carlos Solorzano, the CEO of the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce of San Francisco and Yolanda Hudson, a pensioner and a retired science teacher from Detroit, made the case … Read More

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Latest Developments with Divestment: California, San Francisco, and New York

The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity from divestment advocates across the country.

In California, the state Assembly passed AB 20, which is designed to pressure the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to divest from the already operational Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If successful, the bill would affect $4 billion worth of assets in CalPERS alone. Both pension funds have opposed the measure, with CalPERS stating that “there … Read More

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Pittsburgh Mayor Endangers Pensions to Make a Point

In the wake of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Accord, several local and state public officials have come forth with pledges to keep their states and cities in compliance with the treaty. While it is certainly their prerogative to do so, it is troubling that some of these announcements include talks of divestment, which does nothing to help the climate and whose only discernible effect is to hurt pensioners.

One of these leaders is … Read More

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