Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 2:17 am | Overcast 67º


Letter to the Editor: Fossil Fuel Divestment — The Time Is Now

Do you have money invested in a company that produces fossil fuels: coal, oil, natural gas?

Do you have money invested in a mutual fund, some or all of whose assets are invested in fossil fuel producers?

Does your local university, your church, your personal, corporate, local/regional/governmental pension fund invest in such companies?

The time has come to agree with the United Nations and withdraw your support for these climate-destroying entities. Remove your personal investment support. Tell your mutual fund, university, church and/or pensions to withdraw their investments, and therefore their support, for exploration, development and sale of products whose use is propelling the planet's temperature rise to a degree and with a speed that plants and animals, including us, cannot long survive.

Bishop Desmond Tutu said, “People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change.”

The United Nations has added its support for this fast-growing campaign: Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), said, “We support divestment as it sends a signal to companies, especially coal companies, that the age of ‘burn what you like, when you like’ cannot continue.”

If you have stock or bonds in companies that produce or market fossil fuels, sell them. If you're not sure whether your mutual fund(s) are invested, in whole or part, in such companies, ask a fund representative to send you its prospectus so you may know. (A fund's asset allocation is often available online.)

Ask a representative of your university, church or pension fund for information as to how their investments are deployed. (There may well be organized groups in those institutions already at work on this who'll be glad to help you.) Make clear that you want the institution to rid itself of fossil fuel investments.

At the very least, join organized fossil fuel divestment campaigns. The Guardian, partnering with 350.org, for instance, now has under way a huge email petition appeal to Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Jeremy Farrar and Sir William Castell, director and chair of the Wellcome Trust, asking them to divest their significant portfolios of fossil fuel holdings.

Do your part. Add your name.

William Smithers
Santa Barbara

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