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Our Plan: A List of Actions for the SBI Board Members to Take

The tools to counteract climate change and protect our water are available to us right now. Four elected officials form the State Board of Investments have the ability to act to protect our pensions from risky and unethical fossil fuel investments: Governor Tim Walz, Secretary of State Steve Simon, State Auditor Julie Blaha and Attorney General Keith Ellison. We’ve drawn up a list of actions we want these board members to take. These actions constitute a step-by-step plan to study the financial risk of continuing to invest in fossil fuels.

To find out more, click here.

The financial forecast for carbon industries is bleak. Other countries around the world, as well as many corporations, institutions and government bodies here in the US, are dumping fossil fuel stocks as they continue to under-perform. It’s time for the four SBI board members to take action and make Minnesota the next to divest.

Actions Taken to Support Divestment: A Timeline

2015 

  • Minneapolis City Council Resolution pledging continued divestment from fossil fuels and urging all institutions that invest significant amounts of capital to divest from fossil fuels.

2016

  • Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE) delegate assembly resolution encouraging the State Board of Investment to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in cleaner energy options.
  • Saint Paul City Council Resolution pledging continued divestment from fossil fuels and urging all institutions that invest significant amounts of capital to divest from fossil fuels.
  • Companion bills in the Minnesota Legislature directing the State Board of Investment to study the financial impacts of divesting from fossil fuels. Chief authors were Senator Sandra Pappas and Representative Melissa Hortman.

2017

  • MAPE resolution encouraging the Minnesota State Retirement System to list one or more fossil-free investment choices in their core investment options for Deferred Compensation.
  • Companion bills in the Minnesota Legislature directing the State Board of Investment to study the financial impacts of staying invested in fossil fuels. Chief authors were Senator Sandra Pappas and Representative Paul Thissen.

2018

  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board resolution calling on the State Board of Investment to cease immediately investing in fossil fuels and divest over the period of five years from fossil fuel companies that pose unnecessary risk to employee pension funds.
  • Continuation of the 2017 bills in the legislature.

2019

  • Divestment Forum before the DFL Environmental Caucus meeting and subsequent passage of a resolution calling for divestment of State Board of Investment holdings in fossil fuel companies to be a part of the DFL platform for 2020.
  • Companion bills in the Minnesota Legislature laying out the danger of climate change to Minnesota and the world and directing the State Board of Investment to study the financial impacts of climate change on the security of the state pension. Chief authors were Senator Sandra Pappas and Representative Jamie Long. 
  • Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Minnesota board resolutions calling for divestment of pension funds from fossil fuel companies.

Minnesota Association of Professional Employees supports a study of divesting the state pension from fossil fuels

We all know the way it feels when we hear a piece of music well played or see a beautiful dance or a magnificent display of athletic accomplishment. The coordination and beauty of all pieces working together warms our hearts and gives us a sense that all is right in the universe. Well, that’s the way the MAPE Delegate Assembly vote over the weekend made me feel. All the players working together before and during the assembly contributed toward a resounding support for the State Board of Investment to study the advisability of staying invested in fossil fuels.

First, MAPE members Melissa Wenzel and Sharon LeMay alerted us to the dates for the delegate assembly and deadlines for resolutions. Then Sharon drafted a resolution. Our planning team discussed it and Sharon revised it. Teresa Chapman put us in touch with planners for a MnDOT local MAPE meeting, and our Divest-Invest members Carol Mockovak, Linda Littrell and Patty O’Keefe attended that meeting, presenting our reasons for supporting the resolution. Further revisions followed that meeting, based on the suggestions from those attending that meeting. Melissa Wenzel prepared an amendment to the resolution clarifying that the first step would be a study of current investments in fossil fuels.

Patty O’Keefe, Linda Littrell, Carol Mockovak and Emily Moore called all the MAPE local presidents to let them know there would be an amendment and directing them to the information supporting divestment in the resolution information packet.

Patty O’Keefe prepared a handout with pertinent information for the delegates, and Deb Bergeron and Melissa Wenzel distributed the handout to the delegates during the assembly.

Deb Bergeron and Melissa Wenzel presented the amendment and the resolution at two points in the delegate assembly proceedings, and it passed by wide margins. It was added to the 2017 Legislative Priorities for MAPE by amending the green initiatives language of the MAPE Support for Sustainable Resources for State Government Operations to add the study as an additional bullet. Alex Migambi spoke in support of the resolution, as did Dawn Cameron, who also read a statement supporting the amendment on behalf of Sharon LeMay. Response by the delegates could not have been better.

All those efforts by everyone working together before and during the assembly resulted in this most decisive vote in favor of the resolution.

GOOD WORK EVERYONE!

Fossil Free MN distrupts U of M Regents meeting

The brave souls involved in the Fossil Free MN student group, that is pushing for divestment of fossil fuels by the University of Minnesota, disrupted the Board of Regents meeting on Thursday December 10th. Story in the Minnesota Daily.

Letter to Editor appears in Star Tribune

We are happy to announce that we (Emily Moore and Patty O’Keefe) got a letter to the editor to appear in the Star Tribune online in reference to an opinion’s piece on divestment by Kate Knuth. Kate Knuth was part of the University of Minnesota delegation to the United Nations climate negotiations in Paris.

The next day, Wed Dec 16th, the letter to the editor appeared in the dead tree edition!

Guardian: UN on wrong track with plans to limit global warming to 2C, says top scientist

One of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists has told the UN that its present attempt to limit emissions is “half-arsed and half-baked” and risks handing the next generation a climate system that is out of their control.

James Hansen, former head of Nasa’s Goddard Center and the man who raised awareness of climate change in a key Senate hearing back in 1988 said that the UN meeting was on the wrong track by seeking a 2C maximum rise in temperatures.

Read more at the Guardian.

Welcome

This is the start of our comprehensive site for divestment from fossil fuels and investment in renewable technologies for the state of Minnesota pension funds. Stop back soon to see this web site bloom into life.