The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to begin reducing the city’s investments in fossil fuel companies and to craft a plan to divest city pensions from businesses that contribute to climate change.
“Since I introduced this measure one year ago, we have seen the hottest day on record in my district, a nearly endless barrage of wildfires and destructive hurricanes throughout this country,” Councilman Bob Blumenfield said.
“We need to do so much more to help reverse climate change, starting with putting our money where our mouth is,” he said. “We can have profitable secure investments without embracing climate change enablers.”
The Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System is responsible for managing city pensioners’ retirement dollars, which as of June totaled $17.7 billion, Blumenfield said. LACERS has invested more than $100 million in oil companies, many of which have shown no interest in moving toward renewable energy, he said.
Some major cities such as San Francisco have already initiated an effort to divest their pension funds from fossil fuel companies, Blumenfield said. His motion specifically directs city departments to develop recommendations on the feasibility for the LACERS Board to adopt a similar plan to identify investments in fossil fuel companies that pose an environmental and financial risk.
The motion seeks options to create a climate change watch list that will report the riskiest investments in fossil fuel companies and develop a strategy to engage with the respective companies to reduce their oil and gas reserves and increase their efforts to move toward renewable energy.
Blumenfield’s motion also asks for a watch list to be created on city investments in companies that produce tobacco products and firearms.