Inspiring and moving letters to Wellcome Trust to divest…

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/apr/24/wellcome-trust-letters-fossil-fuel-divestment

p.s. Please consider sharing our blog/posts and petition on your social media platform or share with friends and colleagues via email. If we are to affect change as quickly as is necessary, we really need everyone to become involved. All of us have a stake in our pensions and care about a planet that is livable in the future. The urgency is only going to become more and more apparent. No one is coming to save us. The power is within ourselves – each individual – to change the current system. We hope you can join the growing chorus!

Keep it in the ground: why this is a matter of basic ethics

from the Guardian newspaper – bang on

“Engagement is pretty weak tea: but divestment is weaker still in terms of practical effects: it just transfers shares to investors who don’t care at all.

The big point the endowment managers are missing, however, is about the limit to pragmatism, especially when it runs up against basic ethical idealism. The main reason to divest from the fossil fuels is – it’s simply the right thing to do.”

“The Guardian’s campaign is not a waste of time and effort. In a sense it’s already worked. About 170,000 people have signed the petition, with more names being added by the minute. The idea is out there, going viral. We’re changing the way the world thinks about fossil fuels, we’re altering the way the world thinks about the companies that profit from them.

Which means that we have changed the world for the better. Let’s keep it up.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/13/keep-it-in-the-ground-why-this-is-a-matter-of-basic-ethics

The Climate Change Opportunity [for unions]

by Kevin Bowers, teacher, OSSTF Limestone District 27, and ECA co-founder

PR machines, industry, media, and governments have successfully branded unions and their ‘bosses’ as disruptive and greedy. Climate change offers unions a tremendous opportunity to rebrand and reinvigorate.  There is a hunger for an economic vision that protects the planet and simultaneously supports social equality and good jobs. Unions need to articulate and build this optimistic future and thus define ourselves as leaders in the fight against the forces of disruption and greed.  Unions should call out the industries, media and governments that support the carbon economy and articulate how they are undermining our collective security and prosperity. Simultaneously we need to celebrate and champion the solutions to the climate crisis.  The plentiful, high paying, community centered, democratic jobs of the green economy are not only the solution to the climate crisis but also an opportunity for us to brand unions as the optimistic architects of a prosperous and sustainable future.

[See what the International Trade Union Confederation has to say about this here.]

* * * * *

p.s. Please consider sharing our blog/posts and petition on your social media platform or share with friends and colleagues via email. If we are to affect change as quickly as is necessary, we really need everyone to become involved. All of us have a stake in our pensions and care about a planet that is livable in the future. The urgency is only going to become more and more apparent. No one is coming to save us. The power is within ourselves – each individual – to change the current system. We hope you can join the growing chorus!

New analysis: Fossil fuel-free funds outperformed conventional ones

From the Guardian newspaper: “Investors who dumped holdings in coal, oil and gas earned an average return of 1.2% more a year over last five years, data from the world’s leading stock market index reveals.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/fossil-fuel-free-funds-out-performed-conventional-ones-analysis-shows

Action Needed! Submit a question to the OTPP Annual Meeting

The Educators Climate Alliance needs your help.

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Annual Meeting is next week – on April 9 in Toronto. Questions may be submitted by Tuesday, April 7.

http://www.otpp.com/373

We want to use this opportunity to put pressure on the Pension Board to divest from fossil fuels. To do this we are asking for our supporters to submit questions to the pension board on this theme. (We have sample questions below.) This is easy to do by clicking on the link below – cut and pasted from the OTPP website:


Ask a question

There are three ways to submit a question for the annual meeting.

  1. Ask a question on the meeting registration form.
  2. If you don’t plan to attend the meeting, or if you think of a question after you complete your registration, you can submit a question here. Please send your question by Tuesday, April 7. Indicate that it is for the annual meeting and tell us whether you are a working or retired teacher.
  3. You can ask a question in person at the meeting. If you plan to do so, please consult the Q&A Procedures.

Here are some questions you could submit. Questions should be fairly specific and with limited preamble (due to time constraints). You can cut and paste any of the questions to submit it.

  1. The UN, IMF, World Bank, Mark Carney and many others are saying fossil fuels are risky investments. At the same time, fossil-free versions of major indices (TSX60, FTSE, S&P 500) have outperformed standard ones in recent years. Given this, and since the OTPP has subscribed to the UN’s Principles of Responsible Investing, is the OTPP considering phasing out investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies over the next 5 years and if not, why not?
  2. Has there been an evaluation of the potential impact of climate change and the increase in extreme weather events on all of our other investments? Is it wise to continue investing in an industry which is putting all of our other investments at risk?
  3. Given that scientific consensus states that to avoid catastrophic climate change, we have a carbon budget of about 500 gigatons which will be used up in 15 years, how do the advisors suggest we quickly address the issue of climate change which puts all our investments at risk?

BACKGROUND

We know the fossil-free versions of popular indexes have actually outperformed the standard ones over the past 5 or 10 years. Specifically, this is true of:

the S&P 500:

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/11/30/seattle-city-report-fossil-fuel-free-fund-outperforms-standard-sp-500/

“From a performance perspective, the S&P 500 screened against the CU200 outperforms the standard S&P 500 by approximately 30 basis points over 10 years ended May 2014.”

the TSX60:

http://350ottawa.org/tsx-better-without-oil/

the FTSE:

https://www.businessspectator.com.au/article/2015/2/16/energy-markets/divestment-outperforms-conventional-portfolios-past-5-years?utm_content=buffer8b15e

Mark Carney: most fossil fuel reserves can’t be burned:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/13/mark-carney-fossil-fuel-reserves-burned-carbon-bubble

From the World Bank website (Jim Yong Kim):

http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/tackling-climate-change-our-kids

From the World Bank website (Rachel Kyte):

http://blogs.worldbank.org/climatechange/resilience-right-here-right-now

http://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/longer-world-waits-address-climate-change-higher-cost

Thank you so much for your help!! Ideas change the world! Please share this message with anyone you think will help.

In solidarity,

Andrea Loken, Adam Davidson-Harden, Kevin Bowers, and David Mathers of the Educators Climate Alliance