L.A. Councilman Asks City to Divest Public Pensions from Oil, Gas Companies

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield called today for a review of the city's civilian pension-fund investments, and for the development of a plan to divest from companies that contribute to the effects of climate change.

``It's time to look into our collective financial health and, for the sake of future Angelenos, ensure that we no longer invest in companies that are literally killing our world,'' Blumenfield said. ``As the second largest city in the nation, it's imperative that we lead by example and show the world that you can have profitable investments without embracing climate change enablers.''

According to Blumenfield's office, the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System has invested more than $100 million in oil companies, many of which ``have shown no interest in moving toward renewable energy.''

The councilman argued the city has a responsibility to divest LACERS pension holdings from fossil fuel companies that are unwilling to turn away from the production of oil.

``From financial losses because of extreme weather to asset re-pricing as the global economy moves towards a low-carbon economy, investments in fossil fuel companies pose a climate-transition risk that may endanger the financial vitality of LACERS investments,'' Blumenfield said.

Specifically, the councilman asks LACERS and city departments to report on investments in fossil fuel companies, options to create a climate change watch list on investments in such companies and to develop a strategy to speak with those companies about transitioning their businesses to renewable energy.

He called for development of a plan to divest from ``uncooperative'' fossil fuel companies and to reinvest that money, and to create a watch list to identify investments in tobacco and firearm companies that contradict the City Council's official positions.

The proposal is slated to be heard in the near future by the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee.

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