CHICAGO CITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES DIVESTMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS

By Chicago 350

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The Chicago City Council, led by the Progressive Caucus in partnership with a local grassroots chapter of 350.org, will consider full divestment of City funds from fossil fuel holdings. A resolution for divestment, co-sponsored by 39 aldermen, will be on the Committee on Finance’s agenda some time in February or March.  ***PLEASE NOTE: The hearing scheduled for February 21st was recently postponed.***

The resolution, which “require(s) divestment from stocks and bonds of Fossil Fuel Companies over the next 5 years and prohibit(s) investment in stock or bonds of Fossil Fuel Companies thereafter,” is the result of efforts by the Council’s Progressive Caucus and local grassroots organizations to take action on climate change. 350.org has led the divestment movement, which is the fastest growing divestment movement in history with 696 institutions divested (totaling an approximate value of $5.44 trillion dollars) in just 5 years.  Over a dozen local organizations have signed letters of endorsement for the resolution, including The Sierra Club, Chicago Recycling Coalition, Blacks in Green, 8th Day Center for Justice, and Chicago Youth Alliance for Climate Action.

While the City Council and organizers recognize divestment as only one part of successful climate change mitigation, divestment supporters aim to protect City finances against the projected declining value of fossil fuel stocks and bonds. As modern energy technologies displace fossil fuels in utilities and transportation, stocks tied to the previous century’s energy portfolio are expected to drop in value. Since the City of Chicago requires stable, long-term investments for its financial health, divestment supporters say, the City’s holdings must shift away from aging portfolios based on outdated energy sources.

“Climate change means deadly heat waves, such as the one that killed 739 vulnerable Chicagoans in the summer of 1995, a polluted Lake Michigan and dirty air. We cannot stand for this as representatives of the people and as stewards of their future,” said Alderman John Arena (45th Ward), a co-sponsor on the resolution and member of the Progressive Reform Caucus. “We must divest pensions from fossil fuels, and invest in clean energy.”

The full resolution is available at the Office of the City Clerk and online (https://chicago.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2908429&GUID=85803769-1BDB-4A93-A569-F9CA140C2216). Questions regarding local support for divestment should be directed to <350chicago350@gmail.com>. See facebook.com/Chicago350.org for more information regarding grassroots efforts towards divestment in Chicago.

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