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Financial outcomes from divesting from fossil fuels

By UC Berkeley Economics Professor Clair Brown, Sandy Emerson, Sara Theiss and Glenn Fieldman | May 8, 2023

Screening out fossil fuel stocks has not had a significant impact on returns for global, well-diversified portfolios — in fact over the past 12 years, an index without fossil fuels outperformed its most similar index with fossil fuels, and two separate studies by found that divestment actions taken by funds worldwide have passed the prudence tests required of fiduciaries. An additional academic study spanning decades that included previous oil price spikes found no significant difference in performance between portfolios with and without fossil fuels.

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Meet the California Fossil Fuel Divestment Coalition!

By Fossil Free California | May 2, 2023

Now with over 140 labor unions and organizations in support, the California Fossil Fuel Divestment Coalition is building support in every corner of the state for SB 252, which will divest California’s public pensions from fossil fuels.

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Photo of Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer.

State Treasurer Fiona Ma Issues Statement to Support Divestment Legislation following CalPERS Board Meeting

By Shana DeClercq | March 16, 2023

Divestment sends a message to companies that have shown little interest in seriously addressing a problem that places human existence in peril for the sake of profits: time’s up. This legislation gives our pension funds the necessary time to prudently plan for divestment, including identifying suitable investment alternatives.

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Información del proyecto de ley del Senado (SB) 252

By Fossil Free California | March 13, 2023

¿Por qué es fundamental apoyar el proyecto de ley SB 252? Ahora, en el 2024, es tiempo de acabar con la contaminación de los combustibles fósiles que destruye nuestras comunidades y contamina nuestro aire, suelo y agua. TE NECESITAMOS para ayudar a aprobar el proyecto de ley SB 252 y desinvertir las pensiones públicas de…

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Photo of founding members of Fossil Free California, standing behind the large concrete CalPERS building sign, holding up the individual letters that spell out, "DIVEST."

The Seeds for Our Victory in 2023 — Planted in That Day 2013

By Deborah Silvey | February 10, 2023

What has kept us so committed to Fossil Free California since these early years? A sense of the urgency of climate change propelled our growth, even while we were  a small, wholly volunteer organization. We also had early success: in 2015 we were part of the coalition that helped pass Senate Bill 185, mandating divestment from thermal coal companies by both CalPERS and CalSTRS.

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Promises, Promises: Evaluating CalPERS’ Climate Engagements

By Clair Brown and | November 7, 2022

This report looks at CalPERS’ proxy voting patterns and companies’ reports on greenhouse gas emissions to determine the effects of engagement. The report concludes that engagement alone is unlikely to convince fossil fuel companies to transform at the speed and scale required.

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New report reveals California pensions CalPERS, CalSTRS vote NO on Big Oil shareholder climate resolutions

By CJ Koepp | June 8, 2022

The retirement systems’ failed shareholder engagement efforts with fossil fuel companies has cost their members $11.9 billion in returns California — A report released today from Fossil Free California reveals that California’s public pensions voted to oppose climate action at major fossil fuel companies and financiers during the 2022 Annual General Meeting season. This exposé…

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What Does Divestment Cost? Misinformation from CalPERS and CalSTRS

By Sandy Emerson | May 9, 2022

The “fiscal impact” analysis for the Appropriations Committee in the state Senate or Assembly can make or break a bill. For divestment bills, CalPERS and CalSTRS have repeatedly given imprecise, incorrect, and inflated figures on the costs of divestment, including in the numbers reported to the Appropriations Committee for SB 1173, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill.

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CalSTRS Exaggerates Costs of Divestment

By Owen Doyle, Lanie Goldberg and UC Berkeley Economics Professor Clair Brown | May 3, 2022

CalPERS and CalSTRS manage portfolios worth $466 billion and $323 billion, respectively, so it’s natural for these public pension funds to throw around large numbers. But evidence from the funds themselves and from independent analyses suggests that PERS and STRS wildly exaggerate both the transaction costs and the opportunity costs of divestments in general. In…

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CalSTRS Tunes Out Teachers to Engage with Exxon

By and Cynthia Kaufman | April 12, 2022

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (or, CalSTRS) prides itself on its shareholder engagement with fossil fuel companies. However, by spending their resources, time, and energy on connecting with oil giants like Exxon, CalSTRS has failed to engage with the shareholders who matter most: their own.

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