"To win slowly is to lose"
—Bill McKibben, founder of the climate activist group 350.org
This week's report by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change shows that the window of opportunity for stabilizing the climate is rapidly closing. To keep it open we must stop any increases in carbon emissions in the next two years. As a climate activist, I believe divestment from fossil fuels is essential to protect the world from future climate chaos.
Divestment is also the prudent choice to protect public funds from the imminent decline of the fossil-fuel industry. New York state pension funds have $6 billion invested in fossil-fuel assets. By the beginning of next year, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who controls the funds, is expected to decide whether to fully divest from or slowly reduce those assets.
The fossil-fuel industry is concerned for its future. It is not environmental policy that threatens it today but the growing realization that it is no longer a sound investment. It will soon be eclipsed by plummeting clean-energy prices, competing carbon-free investment options and an exponential shift to electric vehicles.
Investors are also increasingly aware of untapped fossil-fuel resources that in the face of climate change will remain in the ground and become worthless—what we call stranded assets. Rapid divestment from fossil fuels before this realization becomes more widespread in the markets will be a win. With a slow reduction we will lose.
Despite the mounting evidence of the need for immediate action, DiNapoli still argues that a slow reduction of carbon assets from the pension funds, along with shareholder pressure on corporate leaders, is the best way to maintain pension stability while addressing climate change. His strategy wrongly assumes that fossil-fuel markets will remain stable, that company boards will accurately state the value of assets in the face of their stranded future, that the rigid, corrupt and highly subsidized industry will make fundamental changes to its core business, and that it all will happen in the short time remaining.
Divestment is a financial strategy, but it is also a resonant argument for a sustainable future. The global "fossil free" movement has grown to $6.25 trillion in pledged institutional divestments along with major divestments underway by Ireland, the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Funds and many faith-based organizations. New York City's courageous full divestment announcement in January was a call heard around the world by all of us who believe a new age of clean energy is coming. London is now joining with New York and many other cities to escalate the divestment movement.
Pensioners and all New Yorkers should request that DiNapoli lead with conviction by fully divesting the state from fossil fuels and increasing investments in the new energy economy.
Climate change is no longer just a scientific prediction. It is a rapidly approaching hurricane.
John Ingram, a retired teacher and administrator, is a climate activist with 350NYC.org and the Divest New York State coalition
Sign on to BLOCK the McNamee's Senate Confirmation!
Another fossil fuel advocate has been nominated to be a Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Please join with communities and individuals from across the nation to urge the U.S. Senate to oppose confirming Bernard McNamee to be the next FERC Commissioner.
Bernard McNamee is a vocal supporter of dirty fossil fuels. In a 2018 Earth Day op ed printed in The Hill, Mr. McNamee applauded the ongoing use of oil, coal, fracked shale gas and other fossil fuels and asserted that clean energy only works “when the sun is shining or wind is blowing.” Mr. McNamee ignores the wealth of research demonstrating that not only are clean energy strategies available and growing, but that in the near term, with sound government policies that support them, clean energy options can well serve U.S. energy needs in the near term, while protecting our environment, public health, job creation and the economy all at the same time.
We can’t afford another fossil fuel FERC Commissioner.
In addition, FERC continues to misuse its authority to approve pipeline projects that take property rights, and to implement strategies that undermine the rights of people and states to challenge a pipeline before it is built and in the ground, and hires consultants to help review and approve projects where there are demonstrated conflicts of interest.
We need Congressional hearings that are investigating FERC’s abuses of its power and its rubber stamp approval of pipelines, not the approval of another fossil fuel FERC Commissioner. Join us in urging Senators to oppose Bernard McNamee’s confirmation to FERC and to urge Congressional hearings into FERC’s abuses instead.
After signing, please remember to forward this petition to others.
Call Governor Cuomo, Email Commissioner Seggos
1. Call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390 and keep calling to tell him to:
Stop the gas flow at Indian Point nuclear plant.
Implement the most stringent gas emissions regulations recommended by our counties and towns.
Stop approving new gas facilities in New York State.
Quickly move NY to 100% renewable energy.
Be a real climate leader!
2. Email Commissioner Basil Seggos at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) at email@example.com and tell him to: Include the most stringent recommendations in DEC's new emissions regulations for gas facilities submitted by our counties and towns.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, surrounded by guests and elected officials, addresses those gathered for an announcement detailing how the settlement funds from the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal will be ...
ALBANY — New York's top environmental officer is moving on after nearly four years in the post.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's spokesman Richard Azzopardi confirmed Wednesday that state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos is planning to leave the job he has held since 2015. Prior to his appointment, Seggos advised the governor on environmental policy as his deputy secretary for the environment.
NY1's Zack Fink first reported that Seggos was leaving the administration.
"As we prepare for the third term, a certain amount of turnover is expected," Azzopardi said.
He credited Seggos with working tirelessly to protect the state's natural resources, and noted his service to the country as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.
"He will always be a valuable member of team Cuomo, and we wish him well in whatever his next endeavor is," Azzopardi said.
Azzopardi did not know the specific timetable for Seggos' departure, and DEC did not immediately respond to questions about the job.