Why Divestment?

page-banner-2Why is divestment from fossil fuel companies important?

INVESTMENT IN FOSSIL FUELS PRESENTS RISK TO OUR PENSIONS.

A report released by the Carbon Tracker Initiative and the London School of Economics shows that 60 to 80 percent of coal, oil and gas reserves held by the top 200 oil, gas and mining companies listed on the world’s stock exchanges could be considered unburnable and therefore far less valuable than thought. The value of fossil fuel investments is predicted to implode, bursting the “carbon bubble”.

EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS UNDERLINE THE URGENCY OF THE ISSUE.

In just the last year, the US. has struggled to contend with extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, the Midwest drought and the Colorado wildfire. These events are serious reminders of the need to take bold action to curb climate change now. The impacts on Massachusetts’ coastal communities and economy due to climate-related shifts will lead to billions of dollars of loss in the future.

INVESTMENT IN FOSSIL FUELS STUNTS MASSACHUSETTS’ OTHER GREEN EFFORTS.

By investing in clean energy and energy efficiency, Massachusetts has shown the nation that we can reduce our impact on the climate while creating jobs.  Investment in fossil fuels stunts those efforts. Big oil spends $167,000 daily lobbying the U.S. Congress, frequently to block clean energy solutions. On the other hand, divestment from fossil fuels is a logical extension of the Commonwealth’s consistently Green leadership. It’s time to invest in the future—for our students and for our children and grandchildren.

THE BURNING OF FOSSIL FUELS IS DESTROYING THE CLIMATE.

The level of CO2 in the atmosphere on May 10 2013 reached 400 ppm, the highest level in human history, caused in large part by the burning of fossil fuels.  Fossil fuel corporations have 5 times more oil, coal and gas in known reserves than climate scientists think is safe to burn.

DIVESTMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS IS A MORAL ISSUE.

Just like in the movements to divest from the tobacco industry or to end Apartheid in South Africa, climate change is a deeply moral issue. Nationwide, colleges, religious organizations, cities, and states are campaigning for divestment from fossil fuels on moral grounds: If it’s wrong for fossil fuel companies to wreck the planet by disrupting the climate, then it’s also wrong for the Massachusetts Pension Fund to invest $1.4 billion in those companies.

AS TAXPAYERS, INVESTING IN FOSSIL FUELS TAKES MONEY OUT OF OUR POCKETS.

We pay out of our pockets the costs of climate mitigation, adaptation, clean up, and for the increased costs of health care caused by climate impacts. The Massachusetts economy is projected to take a huge financial hit across the board and we taxpayers are expected to absorb it.

WE WILL PAY FOR THE COSTS TO THE MASSACHUSETTS ECONOMY.

Climate change is expected to affect many aspects of Massachusetts‘ economy and all levels of government.

We will pay for the increased demand for emergency and other services.

Weather dependent industries such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries will take a huge financial hit.

Manufacturing (which includes computers, electronic equipment, fabricated metal, and machinery) will suffer.

Service industries, such as real estate management, tourism and recreation, and health care will be affected.

Increased flooding will affect all sectors of the economy.

Less winter precipitation in the form of snow, will adversely affect the recreation industry.

Higher temperatures will adversely affecting outdoor workers and agricultural workers.

WE WILL PAY FOR THE COSTS RELATED TO SEAS RISING/FLOOD ZONE.

We are expected to pay for impacts on residential and commercial development, ports, and infrastructure;

We are expected to pay the cost of coastal engineering for shoreline stabilization and flood protection

We are expected to pay for coastal, estuarine, and marine habitats, resources, and ecosystem services

Coastal homeowners are already paying higher prices for flood insurance. In Winthrop, the cost of flood insurance just rose 25%. Increased flood insurance could force working-class residents and immigrants from their homes,

New flood designations may raise the Boston’s already high construction costs.New buildings and existing properties undergoing major renovations would have to meet stricter requirements and incorporate flood protection measures.

WE WILL PAY FOR THE COSTS TO THE MA INFRASTRUCTURE.

We are expected to pay for the repair and upgrading of existing infrastructure.

We are expected to pay for research into the siting, design, and implementation of new infrastructure such as sea walls.

WE WILL PAY FOR THE INCREASED NEED FOR HEALTH CARE DUE TO POOR AIR QUALITY, RISING TEMPERATURES.

We are already paying for costs related to increased heat stress, increased respiratory and heart diseases–and asthma;
And related to elevated levels of ozone and particulate matter and higher pollen counts.

We will be paying for the costs related to increased vector-borne diseases,

and for more outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

WE WILL PAY FOR COSTS RELATED TO OIL SPILLS.

In other parts of the country communities are paying dearly for PIPELINE ISSUES–bursting pipes that the industry knows are not strong enough to carry the new extreme heavy crude that is being piped through under pressure.

The industry in these ways shifts the costs of doing business onto the public, and gets away with it because of its undue political power.