A Call for Divestment from Fossil Fuels

Letter to the Concord Journal, April 30, 2014

The ExxonMobil executives said it clearly.  Acknowledging that climate change is a serious problem, their oil reserves are safe, because “we do not anticipate society being able to supplant traditional carbon-based forms of energy with other energy forms, such as renewables, to the extent needed to meet this carbon budget” (3/14/2014).  This statement, together with the fact that that and other companies provide sums of money to politicians to promote their agenda, confuse the public about the science and prevent any meaningful action, make it clear that their business interest threatens our future.

The IPCC also said it clearly in their recent report: that our consumption of carbon-based fuels has increased in the decade after Kyoto, and that time is running out to change the course and avoid catastrophic warming.  Meaningful action needs to happen at all levels from international to local. We have an opportunity at town meeting to take a small action by passing Article 40, which calls for divestment from fossil fuels.  Article 40 urges the town of Concord to sell direct investments in Oil/Coal/Gas companies from the pension fund within 5 years, and to send a request to the state of MA to do likewise.

Divesting from fossil fuels is acknowledging that it is wrong to profit from companies whose business plan compromises our future. The risk to a portfolio by doing so is insignificant compared with the risks of rising sea levels and heat waves.  Concord’s divestment from fossil fuels would not by itself solve anything, but divestment by many towns, states, and university endowments would have a big impact in reducing the political clout of those companies, thereby allowing such measures as a carbon tax, which would facilitate the transition to a renewable energy economy.

Posted in environment.