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Letters to the Editor: Fossil fuel divestment doesn’t make sense for retirees or the climate

A nozzle fills a car's gas tank at a gas station
A motorist fills up their Toyota Prius at a Mobile gas station in Huntington Beach last February.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: Divestment is a blunt instrument that would neither reduce emissions nor limit fossil fuel production, but it would restrict the California State Teachers’ Retirement System’s ability to fulfill our mission to secure the financial future of California’s public school teachers. (“California’s pension funds are wrecking the planet and losing billions. It’s quite a trick,” Opinion, June 28)

We cannot simply divest away climate change. Instead of having fewer climate-conscious investors, we need more. Climate change is a major threat that presents risks to all industries and companies in our investment portfolio.

Rather than divestment, which essentially transfers shares to other investors who may be unwilling to engage companies about climate change, CalSTRS is actively committed to achieving net-zero emissions across our portfolio, in alignment with state and federal goals.

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We cannot afford to play politics with teacher pensions.

William Prezant, Sacramento

The writer chairs the investment committee of the California State Teachers’ Retirement Board.

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To the editor: Thanks to The Times for its continuing coverage of climate change, the greatest existential crisis in human history. Special kudos to Bill McKibben for his excellent op-ed article regarding fossil fuel investment by CalSTRS and CalPERS (the California Public Employees’ Retirement System).

As McKibben points out, in addition to the practical and urgent imperative to divest, it makes no fiduciary sense to support such a risky industry.

As a retired teacher, my pension includes both CalSTRS and CalPERS. I urge the California Teachers’ Assn. and my state representatives to support Senate Bill 252, which would require divestment from the largest fossil fuel companies by 2031.

For the security of future retirees and the health of our planet, we must invest in clean energy.

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Margaret Baker Davis, La Verne

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To the editor: Retirement-fund divestment is essential, but many forget that we practice another kind of planet-wrecking investment with every trip to the pump.

Buying gasoline effectively demands that Big Oil thrive, which keeps its lobbyists in business too. They help elect climate deniers and seek to ensure a second Trump presidency.

Divest now and swap that internal combustion engine for a zero-emission vehicle that can be powered by sunlight or wind. Electric vehicles have never been cheaper, and billions in private and public monies are improving public charging by the day, including in low-income areas and in communities of color.

Don’t let your friends drive a gas car either. Divest now. Drive an EV.

Paul Scott, Santa Monica

The writer is co-founder of the electric vehicle advocacy group Plug In America.

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