Seattle Divest
Seattle Divest

Talking Points

On July 13th, the Board of the City of Seattle’s pension fund (SCERS) will vote on whether or not Seattle will become the first major city in the United States to fully divest from fossil fuels. If they do, not only will they be removing tens of millions from the fossil fuel industry, but their decision could have a ripple effect that will be felt all around the country–millions more may be removed from the fossil fuel sector.

We’re asking all of our supporters to call and send personal emails to the board members before the meeting on July 13th.

SCERS Board Email Addresses and Work Phone Numbers:

Jean Becker: jean.becker@seattle.gov, 206-684-3741
Robert Harvey Jr.: robert.harvey@seattle.gov, Phone number unavailable
Tim Burgess: tim.burgess@seattle.gov, 206-684-8806
Glen Lee: glen.lee@seattle.gov, 206-684-8079
Lou Walter: louwalter@ibew77.com, Phone number unavailable
Susan Coskey: susan.coskey@seattle.gov, 206-615-1622
Sherri Crawford: sherri.crawford@seattle.gov,  206-615-1372

Note: We feel that it is important to contact all of the Board members; however, if you can only contact one or two, we feel that it is especially important for Jean Becker, Robert Harvey, Sherri Crawford and CM Tim Burgess to hear from the public on this issue.

Divestment Talking Points

Note: please use any of all of these points in both your emails and phone calls. Please remember to be polite and courteous in your calls and emails.

  • Fossil fuel investments have cost the SCERS pension almost $100 million in the last ten years; it is therefore clear that divesting from fossil fuels makes both ethical and fiscal sense.
  • The board of the $250 million pension fund for Somerville, MA recently voted in favor of full fossil fuel divestment, taking immediate steps to place part of their fund in a fossil fuel-free index. This follows Washington D.C’s divestment of their direct investments, the divestment from thermal coal of the Californian state pension funds, and the full fossil fuel divestment of Cooperstown, NY. There are therefore several precedents of such actions by US pension funds. At the international level, there are many more.
  • It is clearer than ever that coal is an awful investment for SCERS. In recent years, companies responsible for nearly half of U.S. coal production have declared bankruptcy. This is not a trend; it is a systematic and irreversible decline of the industry.
    • Analysts concur that, in order to achieve Paris Agreement goals, coal-fired power should be entirely phased out in rich countries by 2030. Countries around the world are already mobilizing to make this transition. The largest coal mining company in the world, Coal India, has recently announced it will close 37 mines because they are no longer economically viable. Utilities from 26 EU member states recently pledged to not invest in new coal plants after 2020, as part of their commitment to 100 percent carbon-neutral electricity by 2050
  • Yet, as clear as the financial reasons are for divesting from fossil fuels, the moral reasons remain equally clear.
    • The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that to have any hope of remaining below the internationally agreed-upon limit of 2°C of global warming — never mind the aspirational target of 1.5°C — we must remove over $30 billion a year from the fossil fuel industry, and invest an additional $147 billion in the renewable sector.
    • Fossil fuel divestment is a vital tactic–a fact not lost on the former UN Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres: “The investments that we are going to make globally over the next five years … will determine the quality of life for future generations, simple as that.”

If you want to read more about divestment, this Seattle Times article and this Crosscut article should also be useful! Thank you so much for emailing and calling the Board to let them know you support divestment!