Tues 5/22: Make large retirement funds acknowledge the risks of climate change. Due 5/24!

(Shared from Indivisible Berkeley)

SB-964 Public Employees’ Retirement Fund and Teachers’ Retirement Fund: investments: climate-related financial risk.

Minimal Script:

“Hi, my name is (name) and I live at (street,city and zip). I am very worried about climate change and the harm it is causing. I am calling to urge the Committee to move SB 964 to a vote in May, so it can proceed to the full Senate. By requiring CALPERS and CALSTRS to consider climate-related financial risk for all their investments, this bill should prod all companies to calculate their financial risk from climate change. Because SB 964 requires that CALPERS and CALSTRS publicly report on the climate related financial risk of all the companies in its portfolios this bill will also focus public attention on the economic damage fossil fuels are creating and the importance of transitioning away from fossil fuels as fast as is feasible.”

Send your comment to Committee Analyst:
Robert Ingenito
robert.ingenito@sen.ca.gov

Background

CALPERS is the largest public pension plan in the country and CALSTRS is the second largest. Together their portfolios are worth $560 billion. Their size gives them tremendous influence. More and more data is becoming available making it possible to link fossil fuel companies to their share of climate change. Several lawsuits, including those of San Francisco, New York City and Boulder, have been filed against the oil companies for damages from climate change their products have caused. The fossil fuel companies not only need to worry about their legal liability, they are in danger of having to “strand” assets. As the transition from fossil fuels to alternative forms of energy speeds up the fossil fuel companies risk having to leave some of their assets in the ground (i.e. strand) whether they want to or not. Their reserves are likely overvalued.

If SB 964 is passed, then climate-related financial risk will have to be evaluated for all CALPERS and CALSTRS investments. Fossil fuel company valuations will suffer from the threat of legal liability for climate change damage and from the possibility of stranded assets.

Furthermore the requirement that this analysis of climate-related financial risk be made public for all the companies in CALPERS and CALSTRS portfolios, will make it impossible for the public to deny the existence and harmfulness of human induced global warming and help direct investment to alternative fuels.

SB 964 will induce all companies, not just fossil fuel companies, to analyze how climate change will affect the demand for their products and the costs of supplying their products. Making this information available to investors will help us make the transition away from fossil fuels faster.

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