CTA CalSTRS Divest Petition
For decades, the fossil fuel industry has put our communities and students at risk by fighting common-sense measures to curb pollution and to address the climate crisis. Students, social justice advocates, and California educators in other unions have long spoken up for fossil fuel divestment and climate justice. We urge the CTA to stand in solidarity and call for CalSTRS divestment.
WHEREAS the IPCC Special Report on 1.5℃ states that in order to stay close to the goal of 1.5˚C, the rate of global human-caused emissions must decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, and reach net zero by about 2050;
WHEREAS to keep global warming to 1.5˚C, more than 85% of known carbon reserves must be kept in the ground, meaning fossil fuels stocks are overvalued by at least $1-4 trillion;
WHEREAS climate related crises disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities due to inequity in systems of power and lack of access to means and resources for prevention and relief;
WHEREAS CTA believes the human and civil rights of children and youth must be protected. The Association supports the rights of youth to safely access education and other human services during conditions of war, occupation, natural disaster and civil strife. The Association also supports programs and other efforts to prevent and alleviate the effects of such trauma upon children and youth. Pg 318, CTA Organizational Handbook;
WHEREAS other unions and associations of California educators have already spoken up for pension fund divestment including the California Federation of Teachers (2016), Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (2020), California Faculty Association (2021), as well as local CTA chapters representing more than 40,000 CTA members;
WHEREAS BlackRock - the largest asset manager on the planet - concluded that portfolios that divested “experienced no negative financial impacts from divesting from fossil fuels. In fact, they found evidence of modest improvement in fund return.” The report’s executive summary states that “no investors found negative performance from divestment; rather, neutral to positive results.”;
WHEREAS decades of investor engagement with fossil fuel companies has proven futile. According to a comprehensive study by the Transitions Pathway Initiative, NONE of top 53 fossil fuel companies are on track to align their emissions with a 2°C climate pathway by 2050, as set forth in the Paris Agreement.
WHEREAS the University of California divested its $83B portfolio from fossil fuels and went on to achieve a 30% increase in returns for the 2020-2021 fiscal year;
WHEREAS other large public pension funds in New York, Maine, Ireland, the UK, Baltimore, the Netherlands, and more have upheld their fiduciary responsibilities while also divesting from fossil fuels;
THEREFORE, we, the undersigned, urge the California Teachers Association (CTA) to publicly support fossil fuel divestment as an effective strategy to combat the climate crisis and use its collective power to strongly urge CalSTRS to immediately stop any new investment in fossil fuel companies and begin the the process of divesting with a commitment to a defined exit strategy.