Divest from fossil fuel investments, committee recommends

city-hallThe city council finance committee today advanced a resolution urging city pension fund boards to not invest in fossil fuel companies.

The measure also urges the funds to divest within five years from about $13 million already invested in them.

Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, a resolution sponsor, said divesting would have little effect on the pension funds, which have about $2.1 billion in assets.

The resolution goes to the full council for approval on Thursday.

Shields said people can have great pensions, but without clean air and soil that grows food, “those pensions aren’t going to do them a lot of good.”

Dennis Murphy, city environmental officer, said more than 20 cities have taken such action as a way to help combat global warning.

It also probably makes fiduciary sense, he said, as the fuel extraction companies are likely to make less money with the rise of alternative energy.

Ironically, he said, the Rockefeller Foundation that was built on fossil fuel is a driving force behind divestment for fiduciary reasons.

James Turner, chair of the Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club, praised the action as a way to discourage fossil fuel use and promote public support for alternatives.

“For the sake of my 3-year-old grandson, I’m doing as much as I can on this,” he said.

One Comment

  1. Greg Patterson says:

    Thank you Katheryn Shields for another example of your enlightened leadership. The effects of global climate change are the most important issue in the history of mankind with the possible exception of nuclear holocaust.

    I hope all of your colleagues will support this. There is a march sponsored by the Sierra Club and others starting at J.C. Nichols Fountain 2:45 pm Sunday, 11/29 which is the eve of the United Nation’s Conference on Climate Change in Paris which starts 11/30/15 and continues through 12/11/15. Please join us then.

    The decision to divest from fossil fuels companies as a policy is a good investment strategy since much of their asset value is based on valuation of fossil fuels still in the ground. It is important that those fuels especially coal, oil and natural gas stay there both to reduce C02 in the atmosphere and in the long term to be a reserve for humanity to use wisely as truly needed.

    That is the true conservative position not the utilitarian position of using fossil fuels to feed short term consumption and the profits of the few. It is also a good investment strategy because as the values of the fossil fuel companies go down so too will their stock value.

    Thanks Katheryn! Go KCMO!

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