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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2014
2:55 PM

CONTACT: 350.org

Aaron Pickus, aaron.pickus@350.org, 425-418-7606

Fossil Fuel Divestment Forum Brings Experts to Berkeley

OAKLAND, CA - January 22 - In the past 30 days, Goldman Sachs has divested from efforts to expand coal exports through the Pacific Northwest, MSCI Inc. published a report citing fossil fuel divestment as the number one market trend to watch in 2014 and Royal Dutch Shell posted a 48 percent decline in expected earnings, a report Forbes called “disastrous.” And Governor Jerry Brown just last week declared a drought emergency in California amid the driest year on record. In the midst of these stark examples of the uncertain financial future of fossil fuel companies and the increasingly drastic climate future of our planet, co-host 350.org, co-host David Brower Center, author and social activist Bob Massie, leading finance professionals, elected officials and advocates are today holding a California Divestment Forum.

The Forum will cover the latest news on California-based divestment from fossil fuels, as well as national and global movement milestones. The forum will also be an opportunity for finance professionals, politicians, and advocates to connect directly and talk about how to move divestment forward in the state. Additional information on the history of divestment in California can be found here: http://gofossilfree.org/lets-go-divesting/

“Divestment is a growing movement and we must now map out the path forward for responsibly moving institutional assets into more sustainable investments,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. “That is why I am proud that the California Divestment Forum will bring together city government leaders, university endowment heads and financial professionals for a dialogue on divesting from fossil fuels.”

Forum participants include representatives from Royal Bank of Canada, Green Century Capital Management, Bloomberg, Trillium Asset Management, Impax Asset Management, Aperio Group, Solar Mosaic, As You Sow, Sustainalytics, Boston Common Asset Management, SEIU Capital Stewardship and many more. Additional details can be found here: http://www.browercenter.org/california-divestment-forum

“California is a leader in using divestment as a tactic to force positive social and environmental change in the world,” said Jay Carmona, National Divestment Campaign Manager for 350.org. “Just as it is wrong to invest in tobacco companies that are polluting our lungs, it's morally bankrupt to invest in companies that are polluting the entire planet. It's time for California to take its money out of fossil fuel companies on Wall Street and start investing in climate solutions right here in our state."

There are currently at least 23 active on-campus divestment efforts in California and at least 41 active off-campus efforts for a total of at least 55 divestment campaigns across the state. In just two years, the divestment campaign has made significant progress in divesting funds both on and off campus, earning nine commitments in California - San Francisco, San Francisco State University Foundation, Richmond, Peralta Community Colleges, Foothill-De Anza Community Colleges, Berkeley, Associated Students University of California and Santa Monica.

Progress was also made in September 2013 with the Board of Directors of the $260 billion California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest public pension fund in the United States, voting to include references to climate change in its newly adopted list of investment beliefs. This small but significant change in wording will pave the way for CalPERS to analyze and quantify the risks to its portfolio of climate change in general and of fossil-fuel investment in particular.

The local divestment effort is part of the national Go Fossil Free divestment campaign that has spread to over 300 colleges and universities and 100 cities and states across the country. The movement is now spreading to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Europe, as well. According to a recent study by the University of Oxford, the Go Fossil Free effort is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign.

The 200 fossil fuel companies targeted by Go Fossil Free were chosen because they control the vast majority of the world’s carbon reserves. According to top scientists and analysis by groups like the International Energy Agency, nearly 80 percent of those reserves must go unburned if the world is going to keep global warming below 2°C, a target that the United States and nearly every other country on Earth has agreed to meet.

The agenda for the forum is as follows:

9 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Bob Massie, Keynote Speaker

9:47 a.m. - 10: 07 a.m. Sustainalytics At A Glance: The Carbon Tracker 200 through an ESG Lens

10:10 a.m. - 11 a.m. Divestment Panel: The Empirical Implications of Fossil Fuel Divestment

11:25 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. Reinvestment Panel: Gaining More Than Alpha

12:25 p.m. - 2 p.m. Lunch

2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Presentations on Reinvestment, Implications of Divestment, Aligning Institutional Values and Investment

This event is presented in partnership with the David Brower Center and in conjunction with Richard Misrach and Kate Orff’s exhibition, Petrochemical America Project Room, which is on display at the Brower Center until January 26, 2014. For more information please visit: http://www.browercenter.org/exhibitions/petrochemical-america.

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350 is the red line for human beings, the most important number on the planet. The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth. But solutions exist. All around the world, a movement is building to take on the climate crisis, to get humanity out of the danger zone and below 350. This movement is massive, it is diverse, and it is visionary. We are activists, scholars, and scientists. We are leaders in our businesses, our churches, our governments, and our schools. We are clean energy advocates, forward-thinking politicians, and fearless revolutionaries. And we are united around the world, driven to make our planet livable for all who come after us.



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