Divest the State of Illinois from Fossil Fuels
To State Lawmakers, the Governor, the State Treasurer, State Comptroller,
We, the concerned citizens of Illinois, are writing to protect ourselves and our collective future from climate destruction! The earth is on track to breach the dangerous milestone of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2030. Climate scientists predict the planet will reach irreversible tipping points between 1.5 and 2 degrees C, in large part due to the continued burning of fossil fuels. The signatories to the Paris Climate Accord agreed to keep warming below 2 and ideally below 1.5. We can no longer delay significant governmental action to prevent catastrophic climate change.
If governments and financial institutions continue to invest in and finance the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, we cannot halt the dangerous, climate changing emissions of CO2 and methane. We urgently call on political leaders to divest the state of Illinois’ operational budget and pension funds from fossil fuels. Terminating investments in fossil fuel companies will send a clear signal to the industry that a just transition to renewable energy needs to happen rapidly. Additionally, divestment will answer a moral call — to stop financing our own destruction. If it is wrong to wreck the planet, it is also wrong to profit from said wreckage.
By divesting, Illinois will be joining states such as New York and Maine. Both states have made a clear and unqualified commitment by passing divestment legislation. Furthermore, the state of Illinois will be heeding the advice of the secretary general of the UN, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Biden, and countless climate scientists. To quote the White House, "The failure of financial institutions to appropriately and adequately account for and measure [The intensifying impacts of climate change's] physical and transition risks threatens the competitiveness of U.S. companies and markets, the life savings and pensions of U.S. workers and families, and the ability of U.S. financial institutions to serve communities."
We ask you to please sponsor legislation to divest the state of Illinois's operational budget and pension funds from fossil fuel assets to address climate risk in the state's portfolio. Doing so will help stop the destruction of our planet while protecting the financial stability and physical safety of Illinois taxpayers and pensioners for generations to come.