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Home / California Public Employees' Retirement System

LA Council backs CA Senate effort to divest pension funds from fossil fuel

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to support a state Senate bill under which the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System would divest from fossil fuel companies.

The council resolution, introduced by Councilman Paul Koretz, supports Senate Bill 1173 — co-authored by Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco.

“The brand new IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report is unequivocal: it’s now or never if we want to limit planetary warming to reasonably safe levels,” Koretz said.

“That means we need to immediately stop subsidizing the dangerously reckless fossil fuel industry. The pension systems are intended to provide workers a safe future. We need to provide those same workers that safe future with our investment decisions as well.”

The resolution passed 12-0 and notes that the pension funds — more commonly known as CalPERS and CalSTRS — have more than $9 billion invested in fossil fuel production.

“Given the damages of climate breakdown, it is in the best long-term interest of the city of Los Angeles to support the dismantling of the fossil fuel system, both physically and financially,” the resolution states.

Student climate activists protested outside Los Angeles City Hall on March 25 as part of the worldwide Youth Climate Strike. The group marched from City Hall to a conference by the California Teachers Association to ask it to support SB 1173.

The Senate bill, if passed into law, would prohibit the boards of the state’s pension systems from making new investments or renewing existing investments in a fossil fuel company. It would also require the boards to liquidate investments in fossil fuel companies on or before July 1, 2027.

The board would not be required to take any action that is determined to be inconsistent with its fiduciary responsibilities established in the California Constitution.

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