Tell TIAA Divest From Fossil Fuels!

Roger Ferguson, TIAA CEO

TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America) offers educators, arts workers, scholars and others extra financial security upon retirement. But they do it through investing in companies fueling environmental destruction.

In a time where clean green energy solutions are getting cheaper and more efficient, this is unacceptable. It's up to you to demand that TIAA divest from fossil fuels and implement a no deforestation investment policy.

Demand TIAA stop investing in activities that cause climate destruction!

Petition by
TIAA Divest
Brooklyn, New York

To: Roger Ferguson, TIAA CEO
From: [Your Name]

Dear Roger Ferguson, CEO of TIAA,

We are writing to raise serious concerns regarding TIAA’s ownership stake in the Cricket Valley fracked gas power plant in Dover, NY, and its investments in industries that drive climate destruction and threaten public health more broadly. TIAA is investing the retirement money of university professors, non-profit workers, and other public service employees -- $11 billion dollars -- in fossil fuels and agribusiness – the two greatest contributors to the climate crisis. In it’s so-called “sustainable” funds, TIAA has $452 million dollars invested in fossil fuels and agribusiness. Specifically, TIAA has $10 billion dollars invested in fossil fuel companies and $641 million invested in deforestation-producing agribusiness companies including palm oil, paper/pulp, rubber, timber, beef and soy.

TIAA directly financed 35% of the construction costs of the Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover, NY, one of the largest methane-fired electric power plants in the Northeast U.S, much of that methane being fracked gas. As the owner of a major fossil-fuel-fired utility, TIAA has direct responsibility for the climate and public health impacts of the project’s operations.

The 1,100 megawatt methane-fired Cricket Valley plant has been called a “bridge to the energy future.” This is a false notion. Cricket Valley is 19th century technology with a few 20th century tweaks -- and a bridge to planetary disaster.

The Cricket Valley plant, set to start operating within the next few months, sits 1.1 miles from a high school and middle school, and 4.5 miles from an elementary school. The emissions from the plant, including PM 2.5 particulates, will injure the health of these children as well as everyone in the plant vicinity. Too small to be stopped by air filters, these tiny particles lodge permanently in lung tissue where they can cause lung disease and aggravated asthma, among many health problems

Just Cricket Valley Energy alone will pump some 6 million tons of CO2 into our overburdened atmosphere each year, according to CVE’s own estimates, and thousands of tons of other toxic gases -- nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and raw methane among them. TIAA is also a major owner of a similar but smaller 700-megawatt plant, Carroll County Energy, in Ohio, which began operating and polluting the air in late 2017.

As a major user of methane, Cricket Valley Energy is responsible for “fugitive” methane emissions from leaks throughout the extraction (fracking) and delivery process via a lengthy pipeline from Canada and two compressor stations along the way. Methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after emission.

While TIAA has sought to represent itself as a responsible investment firm, Cricket Valley is far from the only instance of its holdings in industries with problematic climate and social impacts. Beyond holdings in coal, gas and oil, which are increasingly risky with each degree of warming the planet experiences and with each disastrous wildfire, flood, drought and climate-driven hurricane and typhoon, TIAA has also attracted attention for direct landholdings as well as equity investments in companies and projects responsible for displacing local communities, disregarding community rights and driving deforestation through the conversion of rainforest and savannah lands to industrial monoculture plantations.

TIAA’s investment in the Cricket Valley fracked gas plant and in fossil fuel infrastructure more broadly undermines its commitment to social responsibility and betrays your firm’s commitment to help teachers and others achieve retirement security. The two-thirds of Americans who support cutting carbon emissions very likely include the vast majority of TIAA beneficiaries. At a time when humanity as a whole is confronted by a climate emergency that grows more stark with each passing day, we must ask, does TIAA want to help stop the climate emergency or to contribute to the destruction of our collective future?

As other large financial actors take unprecedented steps to shift capital away from climate-destroying industries and to align their portfolios with the targets of the Paris Climate Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is incumbent upon TIAA to follow suit. Like all investors at this historic juncture, TIAA has a choice: invest in polluting, planet-killing fossil-fuel companies, or in clean, renewable energy companies; invest in clearcutting forests, land grabbing, and human-rights violations, or in sustainable, community-led development. To do both is not a viable option.

Therefore we call on TIAA to withdraw its financing from the Cricket Valley Energy Center power plant, begin the process of divesting from all fossil-fuel companies and projects, and adopt investment policies that move all portfolios away from climate destruction and toward a livable future for all of us.

Sincerely,

[TIAA clients, other etc...]