Inspired by the work of Bill McKibben and 350.org, and in response to the overwhelming devastation brought on by global warming as highlighted by Super Storm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene, VPIRG has officially begun a campaign aimed at divesting the Vermont State Pension Funds from fossil fuel companies.
Working in collaboration with student groups such as UVM’s Vermont Student Climate Culture (VSCC), the overall goal of the campaign is to see Vermont’s investments at both the collegiate and pension levels, no longer contributing to the atmospheric destruction brought on by fossil fuel companies such as BP, Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, of which the Vermont State Pension Fund currently has invested $6,790,119 in collectively. For a complete list of Vermont State Pension Fund investments as of June 2012, click here.
In response to an environmentally savvy state like Vermont directly funding the acceleration of global warming, VPIRG’s clean energy advocate Ben Walsh replied, “Really, any amount of investment in these companies is too much. I don’t think Vermonter’s want their pension funds in companies that are ultimately making their kids’ and grandkids’ lives far harder to live in the future.” Highlighting the disconnect between the pension fund investments and the values of Vermonters, is the fact that the Vermont State Pension Fund currently has $203,670 invested in Entergy-Lousiana, a company that has lied to and been rejected by Vermont’s citizens and legislature time and time again.
VPIRG plans to push for divestment legislation in the upcoming session, so stay tuned for opportunities to get involved. Until then, check out this recent 7-days article for more information about divestment and Vermont’s first-in-the-nation efforts.