The city of Seattle is divesting from fossil fuel investments as a result of 350.org's nationwide campaign to unhook America from the grip of the industry.
"Together we'll mount an unprecedented campaign to cut off the industry's financial and political support by divesting our schools, churches and government from fossil fuels," said Bill McKibben, when he started the "Do the Math" cross-country tour.
By Jamie Henn, 350.org
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn sent a letter to the city's two chief pension funds last week, formally requesting that they "refrain from future investments in fossil fuel companies and begin the process of divesting our pension portfolio from those companies."
"Climate change is one of the most important challenges we currently face as a city and as a society," wrote Mayor McGinn in a letter to the Seattle City Employees' Retirement System (SCERS) Board and the City of Seattle Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan Committee. "I believe that Seattle ought to discourage these companies from extracting that fossil fuel, and divesting the pension fund from these companies is one way we can do that."
Along with encouraging the pension funds to divest, Mayor McGinn also committed to making sure that city funds stay out of the fossil fuel industry, writing, "The City's cash pool is not currently invested in fossil fuel companies, and I already directed that we refrain from doing so in the future."
Valued at $1.9 billion, SCERS is also the largest investment portfolio yet to consider fossil fuel divestment. While the full value of SCERS fossil fuel investments is still unknown, according to the city's finance director, the system currently has $17.6 million invested in ExxonMobil and Chevron, which represents roughly 0.9 percent of the system's assets.