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California students pressure state to divest teacher pension funds from fossil fuels » Yale Climate Connections


In California, young climate activists are demanding that their teachers’ pension funds end their investments in fossil fuels.

Ahsan: “This would move billions of dollars out of the fossil fuel industry.”

Zara Ahsan, a graduating senior at Skyline High School in Oakland, is an organizer with Youth Vs Apocalypse, a climate activist group.

The group is lobbying for state legislation that would ban the California State Teacher’s Retirement System — or CalSTRS — from new investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies.

And it would require CalSTRS’s governing board to phase out current investments in those companies.

Ahsan: “CalSTRS, as well as prioritizing investment returns, we believe that they have an ethical and social responsibility to have their investments benefit the state of California, California teachers, and the world.”

Ahsan says divestment is an important tool for combating the climate crisis. And she says it’s a wise move, financially.

According to a report from the University of Waterloo in Canada, the pension fund could be several billion dollars richer today if CalSTRS had divested from fossil fuels 10 years ago.

So she says the state can protect teachers’ financial futures without sacrificing the climate.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media


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