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Global Movement Will Deprive Fossil Fuel Industry of Money it Craves

Global Movement Will Deprive Fossil Fuel Industry of Money it Craves

Trying to convince an addict to give up their drug of choice is often an insurmountable task. Addiction, whether physical or psychological or both, is a craftier, more resourceful foe than many of us can conquer.

In the fight to shift America toward a clean energy future, we are up against an entire nation of addicts. America is physically and psychologically addicted to fossil fuels. For generations it’s all we’ve known. When asked, many Americans can’t even imagine a future without gas stations and coal mines–and many of our politicians and business leaders won’t even try.

When up against an economical blockade of this magnitude, it’s tempting to make signs and march and sign petitions. Indeed, these direct actions help to expose issues that the mainstream media might otherwise ignore. But all across the world, a much quieter, much more powerful revolution is taking place, and it’s hitting the fossil fuel industry in its most vulnerable organ — the wallet.

It’s called the Global Divestment Movement.

Spearheaded by climate activists Bill McKibben and 350.org, the push for divestment asks local governments, organizations and, perhaps most significantly, educational institutions to pull their money out of direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds. The initiative is based around the principle that it’s wrong to profit from destroying the planet and, in dozens of cities across America, it’s working.

In California alone, San Francisco, Richmond, Santa Monica and Berkeley have all publicly committed to divestment from fossil fuels within the next 5 years.

In Berkeley’s case, it marked the first time a city council adopted an official policy to divest funds from companies like BP, Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. “The policy prohibits the city from making any future investments in the listed companies and aims to complete the divestment process within the next five years,” reports DailyCal.org.

But this movement isn’t limited to California — not by a long shot.

In Ithaca, New York, Mayor Svante Myrick, one of the youngest Mayors and youngest African-American elected officials in the country, committed to pursue fossil fuel divestment and urge the New York state pension funds to divest as well.

GoFossilFree.org reports that Portland Mayor Charlie Hales recently urged the Oregon State Treasurer, the Local Government Investment Pool and the Oregon Investment Council, to divest of all state holdings in fossil fuels.

“By acting locally, we can send a message to the world that investment in fossil fuels is a losing proposition, and that loosening our dependence on fossil fuels will increase our quality of life,” said Mayor Hales.

Just days ago, the United Church of Christ voted to divest its pension funds and investments from fossil fuel companies because of climate change concerns.

“This resolution becomes a model for all faith communities who care about God’s creation and recognize the urgent scientific mandate to keep at least 80 percent of the known oil, gas and coal reserves in the ground. . .  This vote expresses our commitment to the future. By this vote, we are amplifying our conviction with our money,” said UCC Rev. Jim Antal in a statement.

According to GoFossilFree.org, the UCC is just one of nearly a dozen religious organizations to make divestment commitments.

Outside America the push for divestment is reaching into the business community. Most recently Storebrand, a Norwegian pension fund and insurer, announced that it had excluded an additional 19 coal and oil sands companies from its investment portfolio. Similarly, Holland-based Rabobank told a Dutch newspaper that it would “no longer lend money to companies involved in shale gas extraction, or make loans to farmers who rent their land to shale gas extraction companies.”

Encouragingly, young people have been front and center in this bold movement to deprive the fossil fuel industry of the money it craves. Divestment groups have sprung up on college campuses, forcing administrative leaders to hear student concerns about the climate, and in many cases, spurring immediate action.

If you’re interested in seeing your school or local government divest from fossil fuels, check out the wealth of resources (spreadsheets, research, templates and tools) offered by GoFossilFree.org.

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Image credit: 350.org

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73 comments

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2:31AM PDT on Aug 8, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

8:41PM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Obama provided almost 1 billion to create Agua Caliente Solar Project is the world's largest photovoltaic solar generating facility,[2] currently being built in Yuma County, Arizona currently at 250 NW when the sun is shining.

8:41PM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

The alternative is we then duplicate the Parish coal fired power plant that supplies about 1 million customers in Houston : http://www.nrgenergy.com/petranova/waparish.html They are removing (liquify) the Carbon dioxide and piping it to the oil and gas wells near Victoria TX to be used in Fracking. OMG fracking is the cuss word to socialist. The good is that pumping liquid CO2 underground is harmless, if it winds up in the water it becomes carbonated water (just add Coke syrup) http://www.peakprosperity.com/forum/stupidity-windmills/43676 Now if you want to here about something else stupid get the truth about the eco disaster of biofules and solar.

8:40PM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

One large GE industry standard windmill can produce 1.5 MW at full rated wind speed, (up to 55 MPH) that’s about the equivalent of 2,000 HP. (There are a few that produce about 3MW) If the wind speed drops in half, the generator output is cut by the square (8 times). So the average output in even the windy farm areas is about 25% annually. An Alstom GT13E2 2012 gas turbine can produce 565 MW or about the output or 375 windmills. If they average 25% output it would take 1,500 +/- large windmills to keep up with one average gas turbine power plant that has a 36,000 hour inspection recommendation. Even much larger is the Futtsu, Japan. The power station that operates at 4,534 MW by utilizing five units. One unit is 1,520 MW. That’s about 4,050 large windmills operating at the average 25% annual output. If you hate birds then you would not care about the many millions of birds would be saved if we could dismantle these killer and expensive windmill farms. 39 million birds annually by some accounts. Continued:

4:48PM PDT on Jul 25, 2013

This is incredibly stupid. We will need a lot more energy. And these so-called "clean" have downsides of their own. Oil we do know about. Coal we know and these will power us into the fusion future. What we need are the brains poised on the problem of finding or manufacturing large scale power. This is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

12:06AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013

Like this one - and agree about hitting them where it hurts. Now to do this on a national basis and Big Oil will feel it. Thank you for the info here.

8:51PM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

If you have a 401K or your retirement program has invested in the fossil fuel industry, redirect your portfolio to get your investments in eco friendly companies.

7:08PM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

Screw the oil companies!

10:10AM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

thanks

12:41AM PDT on Jul 21, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

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