Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) putting her Jimmy Choo (or heap big moccasin) in her mouth while addressing American Indians at her first big coming out as a U.S. Senate candidate was not the only moment of significance at the California Democratic Party convention in Anaheim this weekend past.
Citing the growing threat posed by climate change, state Democratic Party officials adopted an official resolution endorsing fossil fuel divestment. Specifically, the resolution urges the state's public universities and pension funds to divest their financial holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as part of a comprehensive solution to the climate crisis.
The first endorsement for fossil fuel divestment from a state political party, the adopted resolution reads, in part:
[T]he California Democratic Party calls upon the University of California and California State University endowments, the University of California Retirement Plan, and the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) institutional pension funds, to immediately stop new investments in fossil fuel companies, to take steps, without risking any financial loss to its members, to divest all holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies as determined by the Carbon Underground list within five years, and to release periodic updates to the public, detailing progress made toward full divestment.
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"As we approach crucial international talks in Paris later this year, the world is watching to see how California responds to the climate crisis," says RL Miller, chair of the California Democratic Party's Environmental Caucus, in a statement. "This resolution sends a strong message that our state is simply not willing to invest in companies who are cooking our planet in the name of profit, and that we have to take every available course of action."
"Our policies, technologies and global markets are all moving in concert away from these industries," adds Kevin de Leon, president pro tempore of the California State Senate. "Coal is hands down the dirtiest form of energy on our planet. So why continue to invest our public employees' retirement funds into this fading industry, especially given the multitude of health and environmental concerns it creates?"
De Leon also sponsors a bill, SB 185, that would require CalSTRS and CalPERS to divest their coal holdings.