For Immediate Release
Climate Activists Call on Clinton Foundation to Cut Ties with Fossil Fuel Interests
NEW YORK - Ahead of Thursday’s Democratic debate in Brooklyn and the New York primary next Tuesday, leaders across the fossil fuel divestment movement are calling on the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative to cut ties with the fossil fuel industry.
The call, addressed to Foundation President Donna E. Shalala, Founder and Chair President Bill Clinton, and Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, urges the Clinton Foundation to stop new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, divest current holdings in coal, oil and gas, invest in our communities and clean energy, and direct the Clinton Global Initiative to no longer accept donations or pledges from fossil fuel companies.
“Taking money from and investing in the fossil fuel industry poses a challenge to all of the good work the Clinton Foundation is doing around climate, health, and poverty,” said May Boeve, a spokesperson for 350 Action. “The Clinton Foundation risks standing on the wrong side of history at this pivotal moment.”
As major fossil fuel companies declare bankruptcy, slash jobs, cancel projects and report massive financial losses, renewable energy is attracting a record level of global investment. Over 500 institutions representing more than $3.4 trillion in assets under management have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment. To date, 125 Foundations have pledged to divest, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund, DC.
“The global fossil fuel divestment movement has captured the wind in the sails of the climate movement,” said Boeve. “The money is moving, and today’s greatest economic opportunity lies in a just transition toward a 100% renewable energy economy that works for all.”
The day before the New Hampshire primary at a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Isabella McCann, a freshman at Bowdoin College, asked former U.S. President and Clinton Foundation Founder Bill Clinton, as well as Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, about the Foundation’s close connections with the fossil fuel industry.
When asked if the Foundation would divest from the top 200 oil and gas companies, Chelsea Clinton said that the Foundation has no investments in fossil fuels. While the Clinton Climate Initiative works to make strategic investments in climate solutions, to public knowledge, the larger Foundation endowment is still invested in fossil fuels.
When McCann asked Bill Clinton if the Foundation would stop accepting donations from Big Oil and Gas, he argued that these donations have allowed the multi-billion dollar charity to get closer to accomplishing their mission.
“Through their financial ties, political and philanthropic leaders give inappropriate access to the fossil fuel industry who are using this power to push extreme extraction and fuel the climate crisis. The divestment movement has set a new standard for our leaders and their foundations: no amount of money from fossil fuel interests is acceptable,” said Katie McChesney, 350 Action spokesperson. “The Clintons have an incredible amount of political and financial capital through their Foundation. The window is wide open for them to shift it away from destructive corporations and towards a rapid and just transition.”
Young people across the country have been asking about Hillary Clinton’s ties to the fossil fuel industry since July. Days after the conclusion of the Paris climate talks, Clinton vowed to look into fossil fuel donations to her campaign.
Two weeks ago, Hillary Clinton was asked by an activist if she would keep her word to act on climate by pledging to reject fossil fuel money, the former Secretary of State asserted that she is “so sick of the Sanders campaign lying” about her.
At the same campaign event last week, the former Senator of New York claimed that she supported New York’s statewide ban on fracking. Throughout her campaign, supportive super PACs have credited her with “selling fracking to the world” during her tenure as Secretary of State. ExxonMobil, who took an active step back from the Clinton Foundation in recent years and is under current investigation for their climate lies, is now the world’s biggest fracker.
The climate movement has pushed Clinton to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, oppose toxic trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and suggest a moratorium for all fossil fuel extraction on public lands. There is a global fossil fuel resistance gearing up to Break Free from fossil fuels this May.
“The world is sending a clear signal to our institutions and politicians: the end of the fossil fuel era is here,” said Boeve. “This is an opportunity for the Clinton Foundation to prove themselves as climate leaders and join the movement in taking back our systems from the stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry.”
350 Action is the independent political action arm of the non-profit, non-partisan climate justice group 350.org.