01 • 15 • 2020
San Diego Divestment from Fossil Fuel Investments
Victory! The City of San Diego passed the City Treasurer’s 2022 Investment Policy with language that “the City shall not purchase any investment issued by a corporation that engages directly in oil exploration, production, drilling, or refining of coal, petroleum or natural gas.”
A growing number of cities across the country and around the world have decided that the investment of public funds should reflect the basic values of their community. In constructing an investment portfolio that speaks to environmental and social priorities, these municipalities have begun divesting from corporations and industries while codifying their preferred financial strategy. A couple of points to consider:
Lessening available capital to the energy industry reduces the potential for carbon companies to expand operations including proposed offshore oil drilling which threatens our community health, environment and tourism.
The City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) identifies 55% of our cities GHGs derive from the burning fossil fuels by vehicles. Strategy 2 of the CAP presents actions and targets to reduce fossil fuel caused emissions. The city should not invest in industry that counters the CAP goals. As such, Surfrider asked the City of San Diego to adopt a Socially Responsible Investment Policy and divest City funds from fossil fuels and other industries which are not in keeping with our shared goal of safe and healthy San Diego.
ON NOVEMBER 15 2021, THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO MADE A HISTORIC DECISION TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES.
In an 8-1 vote on Monday, November 15, the City of San Diego passed the City Treasurer’s 2022 Investment Policy with language that “the City shall not purchase any investment issued by a corporation that engages directly in oil exploration, production, drilling, or refining of coal, petroleum or natural gas.” The vote comes just weeks after the Huntington Beach oil spill which highlighted the destructive toll that oil extraction continues to take on local communities.
The new policy will be revisited annually and the City will divest $17.5 million in commercial paper and medium-term notes issued by Chevron by the end of this year in order to comply with the 2022 policy. A press release issued by Mayor Todd Gloria’s office in support of the policy noted that such an investment policy would be consistent with San Diego’s climate action goals.
Councilmember Joe La Cava led the motion to approve at the meeting, and elaborated: “A climate action plan designed to accelerate clean energy adoption cannot support the proliferation of the fossil fuels it seeks to eliminate.”
Surfrider San Diego has supported a socially responsible investment policy at the City since 2019. The 2022 policy can be viewed here, the referenced policy is section X.