Divest Oregon Update
There’s a lot of excitement building at Divest Oregon about what’s in store for 2023! Let’s take a collective breath in and out to look back on the accomplishments in 2022 made possible by this coalition.
In 2022 …
Divest Oregon co-crafted and introduced the 2022 Treasury Transparency Bill (TTB), lobbied 60+ legislators, and paved the way for this year’s legislation; embarked on email and social media education campaigns, including a Right to Know campaign by public employees; submitted hundreds of written public comments at all of the Oregon Investment Council meetings and showed up in person to call the OIC to account; obtained previously opaque information through 23 public records requests.
Together, we revealed:
- The Treasury commissioned a 2021 Climate Risk Assessment, yet refused to make public the report – finally releasing a highly redacted version after pressure from Divest Oregon;
- Underperformance of PERS investment in the past decade between $4-10 billion and the $5.3 billion in fossil fuels as reported in the Risky Business: Oregon Treasury’s Fossil Fuel Problem report. This report received national media coverage and built the financial case for a climate-safe pension in Oregon.
- Treasurer Read’s opposition to the widely-supported 2022 TTB;
- Issues with the depth and breadth of opaque and illiquid Oregon Treasury private investments in the Oregon Treasury’s Private Investment Transparency Problem report
In November, Treasurer Read announced his plan to create a decarbonization plan for Oregon. While it lacks the urgency and scale required by the climate crisis, Treasurer Read’s decarbonization plan is a win for our Divest Oregon campaign.
It acknowledges that climate change is impacting the Oregon State Treasury (OST) portfolio; the need to address greenhouse gas pollution from OST investments, also called financed emissions; the need to phase out high polluting fossil fuel investments or “decarbonize” the portfolio through offsets; that Divest Oregon’s demands for “transparency and reporting mechanisms” are reasonable.
To read more of Divest Oregon’s 2022, see the Stand.earth blog “It’s not ‘if’ Oregon divests from fossil fuels – it’s how and when” (co-written by Jenifer Schramm and Amy Gray).
Divest Oregon will pass the Treasury Investment and Climate Protection Act (LC 2241) that includes:
- No new investments and the phase-out of fossil fuels, consistent with statute and fiduciary duty;
- Revisiting the issue of transparency, and addressing private investment statutory protections as a block to transparency;
- Using established divestment exit lists to avoid wasted time and effort;
- Immediate action upon passage and phased action from six months to 2035.
Divest Oregon will see to it that PERS members have the Right to Know about their investments in secret, illiquid private funds that make up 60% of PERS. If you haven’t already, add your name to the Right to Know campaign.
Together, we will win in 2023. But only together.
How can you help?
We can build the world we wish to see. Onward, friends.