State treasurer’s climate change message fell on deaf ears

Last week in Dallas, Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce attended ExxonMobil’s annual meeting and spoke in support of a shareholder proposal to limit the company’s greenhouse gas emissions. Our treasurer spoke about the climate impacts that Vermont faces and that “climate change poses real financial risks.”
Not surprisingly, the shareholder proposal was strongly opposed by ExxonMobil and voted down by 90 percent of the shareholders. Instead, the CEO of ExxonMobil spoke out in denial of climate change and went on to talk about ExxonMobil’s plans to extract fossil fuels from “extremely challenging environments” such as Arctic drilling and fracking in the mountains of Papua New Guinea.
Vermont’s treasurer needs a better response to a company like ExxonMobil: divestment from their stocks. We need to keep most of the remaining supply of fossil fuels unburned and in the ground. I urge Treasurer Pearce and the Vermont Pension Investment Committee to stop wasting their time on futile shareholder proposals and sell off Vermont’s increasingly risky fossil fuel stocks and invest in the low carbon economy.
Divesting from fossil fuels is a clear win for Vermonters. Pension funds would be better managed and the state would not be undermining its own efforts to reduce carbon emissions while at the same time continuing to finance fossil fuel companies. 
A more complete discussion on this important issue is available at http://350vermont.org/current-campaigns/divestment/.
Fran Putnam, Weybridge

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