Divest TRS Pension Funds from Fossil Fuel Companies

CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez | Comptroller Scott Stringer | TRS/NYC Board Members: John Adler, Thomas Brown, Natalie Green Giles, David Kazansky, Lindsey Oates, Debra Penny

Fossil-free-divest-2.14.17

CUNY faculty and staff  should not be forced by our pension savings to contribute to the dire consequences of climate change. Our union, the Professional Staff Congress, passed a resolution in early 2019 in support of divesting public pensions and other retirement savings from fossil fuels as both morally and fiscally sound; protecting our planet and our retirement savings.

Please sign this petition if your pension is invested in a defined benefit plan with the Teachers Retirement System (TRS). If your pension is invested in a defined contribution plan with Teachers’ Insurance and Annuity Associations (TIAA), click here to sign the TIAA petition.





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To: CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez | Comptroller Scott Stringer | TRS/NYC Board Members: John Adler, Thomas Brown, Natalie Green Giles, David Kazansky, Lindsey Oates, Debra Penny
From: [Your Name]

We, the undersigned are members of the Professional Staff Congress and our retirement savings are in TRS. We support the pledges from Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer, and Governor Cuomo to divest public employees’ pension funds from fossil fuel companies. This is the right choice both morally and fiscally.

Remaining in fossil fuels has become increasingly risky as the industry faces numerous lawsuits and the risk of its assets becoming stranded due to local regulations aimed at air and water quality.

Research by the London School of Economics and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, by the Corporate Knights, and by The New York Times all reveal the weakness of the fossil fuel industry as an investment going forward. Scientists agree that avoiding the worst scenarios, and holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, will require using only 20% of the oil, gas and coal that’s already available. Yet, the current value of those fossil fuel stocks are based on consuming all of it. While a decade ago pensions experienced decent returns from fossil fuel investments that is no longer true as alternative investments have outpaced them with considerably less risk.

Without action to immediately lower carbon emissions, climate change will do enormous damage to agriculture and clean air and water as well as subject millions to the increasingly devastating floods, droughts, and forest fires we are all already experiencing. The worst suffering will hit those who are least responsible for it.
As members of the TRS pension system we the undersigned demand that the TRS Board begin divesting from fossil fuel investments in keeping with their fiduciary responsibility. As educators our pension savings should not force us to contribute to the dire consequences that we as well as our students, children and grandchildren will face as the fossil fuel industry’s greed wrecks the earth, our common home, in their pursuit of profits.