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A Dispatch from 350’s Divestment Trenches

The 350 movement is using a variety of strategies and tactics to convince investors to divest of fossil fuel and related companies’ financial instruments.

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Most fossil-fuel companies and vital vendors (see below) regard environmental activists such as the global movement as an irritating, but harmless, small colony of ants to be ignored, sprayed away with honied words or squashed underfoot. They’ve obviously never heard Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes” about the stamina and passion of an army of ants, inching along to take down big targets (“Oops, there goes another rubber-tree plant…”). From their skyscraper corner offices, they are unlikely to hear 350’s rousing “International Climate Anthem” (“We’re on a planet/That has a problem./We’ve got to solve it, get involved, and do it now, now, now, NOW!”). It’s a fast-growing army of “ants” committing peaceful civil disobedience deeds left and right to stop this industry from burning up the planet.

The 350 movement is a major international group of activists founded in 2007 by Vermont author-environmentalist Bill McKibben and his Middlebury College students. At last count, 350s numbered hundreds of thousands, a vast army split into divisions for an array of actions: worldwide demonstrations, rallies, street theater, blocking highway access for production equipment/supplies, locking themselves to equipment, photographing permit violations, scientific measurements of pollutants and lobbying environmental and political decision-makers.

Our Portland group evaded parade permits and arrests by posing as camera-toting tourists, replete with a guide providing bull-horned descriptions of the Keystone XL pipeline as we made stops to deliver missives at State Department headquarters, TransCanada’s office and the Toronto bank financing the pipeline. Ordinary tourists took our literature and some even joined us for a few blocks of the march. Elsewhere, 350 battalions have been submitting petitions with thousands of anti-pipeline signatures. They’ve stalled fossil-fuel operations by filing countless legal actions and made demands for environmental permits from state and federal agencies protecting air, land and water. In Oregon, hearings against the industry have been so packed that federal and state agencies have had to rent several rooms for testimonies.

McKibben and 75 of his vanguard spent time in the Washington jail after the August 2011 White House sit-in by hundreds opposing President Obama’s projected sign-off on the northern link to the Keystone KXL pipeline. That event sparked thousands of recruits. By February, thanks to the Internet and YouTube, thousands more joined in 188 countries. In March, 400 students were arrested, again in front of the White House, to tell President Obama not to sign off on the pipeline’s northern leg. In late April, the president will hear the same message from thousands led by a “Cowboy Indian Alliance” of farmers/ranchers/Native Americans who live along the proposed route.2

What’s irksome for lawmen is the willingness of 350’ers to be quietly taken prisoner by the hundreds. Besides taking up jail space and breaking food budgets, some do yoga or orient “regular” prisoners about Earth’s polluters. Imbued with “high-hope” esprit-de-corps, the movement is armed with aptitudes of veteran activists, militant senior-citizens, attorneys, investigative media types, accountants, brokers, whipsmart Occupy alumni – and that most dangerous and angry generation: the young and restless, debt-ridden, barely employed, well-educated Millennials.

The numbers increase with each blow from Nature and man-made disasters set off by the fossil-fuel industry. The greatest ally of all perhaps is the terrifying sign of “abrupt” climate changes instead of predicted gradualism for the next decade. This sudden onset was noted in March by two Truthout writers, encapsulating the frightening report by the National Academy of Sciences. Among the alarm bells the study cites are the recent sudden crash and disappearance of Arctic ice, the polar vortex, forests devoured by infestations and historic fires. Add to these, rising sea levels with acidic water, super-abnormal rainfalls in Britain and Europe, offset by apocalyptic water shortages in Australia, Iran, Mexico, the US Southwest – especially, California.3

Add to these devastating signs of planetary death the rapid desertification of continents, killer heat waves and storms and reduced snowpacks. The fracking industry has set off earthquakes, poisoned vast areas and triggered high CO2 and methane emissions. As for the canaries in the mine, count today’s unexpected die-offs of Monarch butterflies, oceanic zooplankton and, along with honey-bee colony collapses, reports of “between 150-200 species going extinct daily.”4

The visible enemy in much of this, as 350 sees it, is the fossil-fuel industry.

Time was that when humans depleted resources in one part of the world, they moved on to deplete the resources elsewhere. However, today, almost all of the globe has been “mined out.” The remainder is being hacked and fracked out by the fossil-fuel industry for oil and natural gas products that may never be used in the near future. Worse than that is fracking’s voracious use of diminishing potable water supplies, which are mixed with toxic chemicals to extract those fuels. Water used to bring in a single fracking well is estimated at from 2 million to 9 million gallons. No estimate has yet been released on what this regurgitated water has done to poison vast lands needed for food or ongoing damage to vital underground water systems.5

Small wonder then that McKibben’s 350 movement has drawn an energetic infantry and artillery of activists and a “Fifth Column” of silent supporters. The irony is that climate deniers soon may be in the same boat as end-of-the-world soothsayers unless they and all the fence-sitters in some fashion join the ranks of this global army. It aims to plow under the industry unless it retreats into recycled energy sources or, following the example, say, of multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, to begin cultivating other fields.6

The army’s shock troops are in its divestment corps, out to cut the industry’s purse strings via an array of targets: stockholders, public and private institutions, governmental and institutional investment councils, foundations and the general public. Stationed deep in the trenches, they have been steadily chewing away the industry’s colossal war chest, which is beset by astronomical overhead costs to rush coal, oil and natural gas to global customers before the sales windows close.

Unlike yesteryear’s South African divestment campaign, when major governments worked to end its apartheid policies, almost all governments are largely controlled by the industry. Despite the Ukraine’s political chaos, its leaders signed a pair of $10 billion, 50-year “shared” deals permitting Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron to frack for natural gas. In the United States, exploration and drilling permits are easy to get; short-handed regulators are hobbled by budgetary cuts and deliberate red-tape policies. Even horrific rail and pipeline mishaps take years to investigate and rarely generate changes or fines beyond $50,000 when appeals are settled – often decades after they’ve been initiated.7

But that may be changing, thanks to the boiling rage of affected publics in Canada and the United States rising from the groundwork laid by 350 and allies in the environmental movement. Twenty-nine US senators just “held the Senate floor all night long to draw attention to the issue of carbon pollution and climate change,” according to Oregon’s Sen. Jeff Merkley. Another important ally is World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, who in January ordered the world’s financiers at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland to take drastic financial action against CO2 polluters.8

The 350 divestment “general staff” at its New York headquarters has the benefit of a global gusher of practical tactics. Thanks to the Internet, outposts around the world have submitted hosts of creative slings and arrows to sever the roots of this powerful trillion-dollar “rubber-tree plant.” The rest of the 350 army will shear off what’s above ground. One major contributor has been Britain’s non-profit Investor Watch. It chose a scholarly band of financial and fossil-fuel experts to form the Carbon Tracker Initiative to provide ideas “linking scientific research with climate policy and financial markets.”9

CTI’s first bombshell fell on the industry in March 2012 with a major report aimed at stock and bond holders: Unburnable Carbon: Are the World’s Financial Markets Carrying a Carbon Bubble? Playing on company fears of gluts and a waning Asian market, the authors concluded fossil-fuel assets were likely to become “stranded.” That meant a bursting bubble at global exchanges because 30 percent of trading action involves energy investments. If only 20 percent of today’s total fuel reserves could be burned, CTI stated that 80 percent of those assets would be unburnable and pile up at terminals as unsalable inventory.10

CTI also supplied a major piece of weaponry with its list of 200 companies owning “the vast majority of the world’s coal, oil and gas reserves with a combined value of $20 trillion.” Its researchers also now have a list of vital vendors such as Halliburton, Sumitomo and Berkshire drawn from the top 25 holdings of nearly 3,000 mutual funds.11

The divestment corps’ use of the blacklist created a mission statement and reference tool for many of its worldwide battalions:

We want institutions to freeze new investment in fossil-fuel companies immediately and to divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds within five years.12

The general staff certainly never intended a narrow interpretation of that statement, particularly a five-year deadline in view of those “abrupt” changes in Nature. It has urged flexibility and multiplicity of divestment actions. The executive director recently noted:

Fossil-fuel divestment campaigns can take many forms, and in fact nearly all end up employing a number of tactics. Certainly the fact that many fossil-free investment options offer quite competitive returns is a key argument for many. And we do have a couple of pension-fund campaigns that are reaching out directly to pension members.

As long as your goals are aligned … we encourage you to structure your campaign in whatever makes sense for your context. That said, we’ve developed some pretty solid do’s, don’ts, and other learnings about what tends to work best.13

Among divesters’ many tactics – some ongoing, some mulled in “war rooms” – prioritized in order of effectiveness and time/energy efficiency, are these:

– Mandating a Saturday short course for divestment troops at the outset of a campaign to explain decisions about fossil-fuel holdings made by local and state governmental investment councils/boards.

– Advocating investment council meetings be shown on public television, streamed online or broadcast on local radio stations.

– Advocating investment councils consider alternative holdings – renewable energies or blue-chip companies – that offer less risk and equal or greater returns than those from fossil fuels.

– Advocating that governmental websites contain monthly and complete lists of holdings – not summaries – including money allocated, interest rates and starting/maturity dates.

– Advocating mayors and governors issue policy directives to investment officers that ban fossil-fuel holdings.

– Picketing or attending stockholder-bondholder meetings to point out deteriorating markets for fossil fuels, stratospheric production resulting in adverse impacts on earnings and dividends and the benefits of immediately deploying investments elsewhere.

– Organizing a campaign of “Move Your Money From Fossil Fuel Polluters,” targeting Bank of America, Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase, the three major lenders to the industry.

– Warning mutual fund managers retaining fossil-fuel holdings that their jobs may be jeopardized by the industry’s increasing declines and low returns to members.

– Informing taxpayers about past and potential losses of principal and interest from fossil-fuel bonds and those unsecured, nine-month commercial-paper IOUs that don’t need Securities & Exchange Commission registration.14

– Informing pensioners about the high risk of drastically curtailed retirement income if pension funds continue to be invested in the industry’s declining future.

– Advocating bank managers consider the high risks of lending money to the industry in view of its future insolvency.

– Convincing major institutions – foundations, public schools/universities, religious organizations, etc. – to divest and deploy funds into alternative holdings such as renewable energies or blue-chip companies that offer less risk and equal or greater returns than the fossil-fuel industry.

– Instituting a media campaign stigmatizing the industry via a variety of media – YouTube to letters-to-the-editor – in several areas: 1) vast present and future environmental damage; 2) deaths and injuries; 3) criminal activities to obtain leases; 4) corruption of governmental leaders and officials; 5) cynical use of joblessness to acquire public support; 6) partnerships with unsavory regimes in exploration/production/mutual profits; 7) instigating wars or regime changes to gain control of fuel reserves and pipeline routes to shipping ports (i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran).

– Drafting and lobbying a resolution for local and state governing entities to ban investments in the industry immediately and to exercise the same action on callable equities, bonds and other financial instruments.

Rationales behind these major “suggestions” are easily understood.

A short-course about governmental or foundation investments need not be complex or extensive, but basic training is essential for divestment recruits to overcome fears about the stock market. It’s easy to recognize differences between commercial paper and a short- and long-term bond – and why investment officials use them.

Divesters targeting foundations or public institutions have learned to be able to provide names of alternative blue-chip companies with comparable earnings or to point out that in February alone, wind and solar power constituted nearly 81 percent of “installed US electrical generating capacity.” A three-fold brochure developed at Portland State University lists nearly 100 renewable companies and is available for literature packets. Part of several presentations is telling prospects that Bloomberg Philanthropies is now among the heavy-hitter, business risk-defining organizations of former Cabinet secretaries and financial luminaries and that they are suggesting alternative paths to the industry that will circumvent climate-change impacts on the economy.15

A reference list of industry names and stock-market symbols (“XTO Energy Inc.” is Exxon, e.g.) is one vital “textbook.” The “lab” involves learning how to quickly tap into Google or Morningstar websites to check a company’s homepage to discover what it does, its day’s earnings, its debt load, and whether inventory is piling up on loading docks.

Part of such training, in my experience, has to be role-playing to deal with intimidating or dodgy investment officers. That they are rarely challenged by the public seems to add to their illusion of invincibility. No divester should be cowed by a “how-dare-you-question-us” attitude. These are public servants charged with dispensing public money to companies that should not be harmful to the public, no matter how great the interest earnings for the public coffers. Divesters visiting public institutions are beginning to recognize their right to see all holdings and that no fees can be charged for public use of that data. I’ve used a card containing federal and state laws on this point, secured document copies and have never been charged.

Once recruits have passed that short course, they’re equipped to talk knowledgeably about investments. With a governmental entity, forget a governor, county commissioner, mayor or city council members. The chief target should be the investment aide who, as the savvy gatekeeper for brokers, is bombarded with their pitches and has power of agency to close deals with them in a twinkling. The next target is the entity’s treasurer, who generally O.K.s those deals.

These key people are usually paid handsomely for their expertise and experience in dealing with those seeking to borrow millions from the public treasury. At the state level, investment officers also may be offered five-star perks by investment brokers and financial houses. Because so few ordinary citizens challenge holdings selections, their judgment is usually trusted implicitly by governing officials busy with their own duties. So decisions involving the public millions are handed to those officials as “recommendations” and they almost always rubber-stamp choices as official decisions within an hour or so. That’s why divestment efforts directed at governments should begin with these real “deciders” of where to invest public dollars.

Divesters are having success in strongly advising such staffers that transparency on all holdings is vital, ideally on the governing body’s web site. The public has a right to know who is using its money for investment, how much, at what interest rate and when it will be returned. Threats of the public spotlight always have been a powerful weapon if secrecy hides investment choices that are not in the public’s interest (health, safety, corruption, etc). Both Oregon and Portland now display on their homepages the treasury links to monthly lists of holdings, amounts, interest rates, financial arrangements and start/maturity dates. Unfortunately, many other governments still provide only summaries of a half-dozen holdings, cherry-picked seemingly to avoid backlash on controversial selections. They’re likely to get a visit soon from divesters.

Ahead are demands for televised sessions of investment officers making those “recommendations” on a public channel. Obduracy and hurdles to jump are clear indicators of fear that public outrage will result if some holdings – e.g., Monsanto, Foster Farms, or KBR – are revealed. But it’s even clearer that transparency is needed. One useful precedent might be a pair of Oregon examples.

After Lehman Brothers went down with nearly $200 million of Oregonian tax monies, the state treasurer’s office continued to footnote on its holdings list that it was still trying to collect that debt.16

When Oregon’s pension investment committee added bonds worth nearly $1 billion from Texas Pacific Group, a private fossil-fuel company – despite a “poor performance” rating on previous buys – one Portland divester wrote an op-ed column scoring that decision because TPG and stranded assets meant pensioners could be the losers. Another target was the state’s committee that snapped up nearly $600 million of three-year bonds floated collectively by Exxon Chevron, BP, two fossil-fuel carriers (BNSF, Canadian National) and the Toronto bank underwriting the Keystone XL pipeline. Such articles and letters-to-the-editor guarantee discomfort to investment officials such that they may back off from such holdings.17

The tactic of emphasizing the industry’s dismal future is one the industry can’t fight. It’s in the media almost every day, replete with charts and graphs. Well-heeled and whip-smart investors check world markets hourly and know what stacked-up inventories mean. They’re also well aware that shale wells may start producing, say, 1,200 barrels per day, but in a year or two drop to 100, then, nothing. As one oil expert put it: “Shale wells start strong and fade fast, and producers are drilling at a breakneck pace to hold output steady.” But how long can that go on?18

Divesters increasingly hold the high ground because of those vanishing earnings for stock- and bondholders. Thousands are dumping fossil-fuel investments or re-evaluating present holdings. One 70-member stockholder organization (Ceres) – worth 3 trillion investment dollars – was alarmed enough about climate change’s adverse impacts to its assets that, in September, its leaders wrote 45 of those major companies asking for future production plans. They knew about “stranded assets” of coal, gas and oil being stockpiled at hundreds of terminals around the world or left on (or in) the ground.19

Initially, response was collective silence. So in mid-February, members went after 10 companies, including Exxon. The group and the New York state comptroller’s office ($160 billion in assets) filed shareholder resolutions with those industrial giants indicating their request would be an official demand at stockholder meetings. A wealth-management group and a nonprofit foundation (Arjuna Capital, As You Sow) followed suit. Ceres suddenly got responses in mid-March from two-thirds of the firms, starting with surrenders by Exxon and Peabody Energy.20

Another major grievance of Ceres and other investors to be brought up at meetings and seized on by shrewd divesters are skimpy interest payments or dividends because of ruinous expenses for exploration and production, especially in the last two years. A single fracked well runs about $6 million. Since 2009, Chevron’s cash shortages and increasing debt ($19.93 billion by last August) to foot such bills may explain why company officials of this $220 billion company are now leaning on government entities such as Portland, Oregon, for a few millions. Worse, investment staffs face minuscule short-term gains of, say, .019 percent interest on a $2 million three-year bond. Ultimately, taxpayers are not only financial losers, but they’re unwittingly supporting companies ending life on Earth.21

As to foundations and public-private institutions, divesters are getting more adroit in subtly pointing out this doomsday situation and suggesting where investments could be deployed with less risk and greater returns. These involve dozens of companies producing wind, solar or tidal power, or “old-reliables” among blue-chip companies, or other promising ventures.

Public and private boards are listening. Momentum to divest is astir in 100 US cities, some 350 campuses and dozens of major foundations. Signups include 17 major foundations such as the Wallace Global Fund; 300 others are weighing doing “some form of sustainable and responsible investing.” Others involve nine colleges/universities, 21 cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and Santa Fe, 23 religious institutions and six other institutions such as the Council of Canadians. The most successful divestment troops in these sectors are likely to be retired executives or clergymen, as university foundations know well.22

Many divestment squads have found that the more rewarding, imaginative, and effective tactic in creating public awareness is blackening the industry’s image. This was strongly recommended in a recent report from the University of Oxford and a green mutual fund. The industry itself has done most of the spadework by its contempt for flora, fauna and Earth’s diminishing resources – especially in the past two years. If a picture is worth a thousand words, the photographs of disasters are worth a million words left unsaid by environmentalists. The public has seen coverage of a series of explosive and fiery derailments, deaths and injuries, as well as devastated suburbs, waterways and farmlands from leaks of millions of gallons of fracked oil in new pipelines, antiquated tanker cars in one-man unit trains and barge collisions.23

After an unattended tanker train destroyed Quebec’s Lac-Mégantic and killed 47, aroused civic leaders and residents living along oil-train routes are aiming explosions of their own with expensive demands about safety at the industry, railroads and elected officials. At $40,000 per car just for retrofitting, Warren Buffett’s vow to buy 5,000 new ones for his BNSF line – despite builders’ present backlogs of 40,000 – sounds hollow indeed. It might be far more profitable and safer for his Berkshire billions to sell the tanker cars for scrap and use the remaining fleet as an excursion line for a Wild West theme park built atop former coal mines in the Powder River Basin. At least none of the trains would be returning empty.

Needless to say, the industry’s track record of nonstop wreckage provides a potent weapon for the divestment corps.24

For divesters preferring the soft-spoken, genteel lobbying of lawmakers, that traditional tireless, long-time tactic has been confined to resolutions banning fossil-fuel holdings. Their “high hope” is that elected officials will send a directive to investment staffs to do just that. In Portland, these efforts have been underpinned by a 350 “sniper” persistently questioning the mayor, two commissioners and treasurer about the city’s fossil-fuel holdings. Success for this double-edged action has been one of those commissioners, opposed to Walmart holdings, successfully winning a resolution to institute a five-citizen ad hoc committee for “Socially Responsible Investments.” It’s doubtful their work will be confined to Walmart or that the committee will be temporary.25

And so little by little, the divestment corps is eating away the industry’s financial roots while the rest of 350’s army of ants works at destroying the trunk and global branches of that seemingly gigantic, unconquerable “rubber tree plant.” And as the old proverb reminds this arrogant industry: “The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”


1 Cahn, Sammy and Van Heusen, Jimmy. (1959). “High Hopes.” Universal Music Publishing Group, Barton Music Corporation.

2Bill McKibben Jailed After White House Tar Sands Pipeline Protest.” Rutland (VT) Herald. McKibben, Bill. (August 2011). “Tomgram: Bill McKibben, Jailed Over Big Oil’s Attempt to Wreck the Planet.” Boeve, May, executive director, Action Fund. (February 2014). personal communication. The “350” is the acceptable levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) parts per million in the atmosphere for Earth’s survival. The organization’s goal is to lower the present 400 ppm to 350 ppm to ensure that outcome. N.A. (ND).

Ward, Brian. (March 2014). “Alliance of Ranchers and Indigenous Communities Challenges the Keystone XL.”

3 Melton, Bruce. “Abrupt Climate Change: No Bioperturbation.” Jamail, Dahr. “The March of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption.”

4 Jamail.

5 Peixe, Joao. (October 2013). “US Fracking Industry has Used 250 Billion Gallons of Water Since 2005.”

6 Melton.

7 Fink, George. (2002). “Did an academic boycott help to end apartheid?” Nature. 417: 6890. N.A. (January 2014). “Federal rail agency collects minimal enforcement fines, documents show.” Balmforth, Richard and Zhdannikov, Dmitry. (January 2013). “Ukraine signs landmark $10 billion shale gas deal with Shell.” Polityuk, Pavel and Balmforth, Richard. (November 2013). “Ukraine signs $10 billion shale gas deal with Chevron.” “Federal rail agency collects minimal enforcement fines, documents show.”

8 Merkley, Jeff. (March 2014). Email to constituents.

In that speech, Jim Yong Kim said: “This is the year to take action on climate change. … We need leaders who are not thinking about short-term [financial] returns or election cycles. Putting a price on carbon through either taxes or market-based instruments are key. … We called for a phase-out of harmful fossil-fuel subsidies. The $1.9 trillion in subsidies can be redirected to support investment in clean growth. … Let’s use appetite for green bonds to expand the universe of investors who are investing in green assets. Let’s create demand for those assets even faster.”

Yong Kim, Jim. (January 2014). “World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim Remarks at Davos Press Conference.” The World Bank.

9 N.A. (ND). “To divest or not to divest.” Carbon Tracker Initiative. The CTI team borrowed ideas from papers by two scientists – one at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the other at the University of Oxford. Their studies predicted that unless CO2 emissions were curbed immediately, the carbon budget would be exhausted within 20 years. The two scientists were Potsdam’s Malte Meinshausen and the University of Oxford’s Myles Allen. Brahic, Catherine. (April 2009). “Humanity’s carbon budget set at one trillion tonnes.”

10 Leaton, James. (March 2012). Unburnable Carbon – Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble? Carbon Tracker Initiative.

In December 2013, CTI issued another report to investors about the significant short- and long-term financial drawbacks of fracked-fuel, in particular TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas [Leaton, James; Capalino, Reid; Sussams, Luke; Fulton, Mark; Lewis, Mark. (December 13, 2013). A Potential Mirage for Oil-Sands Investors. Carbon Tracker Initiative.

11 N.A. (ND). “Carbon Tracker 200: Our Industry Targets.” Carbon Tracker Initiative. Ellis, Barbara G. (February 5, 2014). A Study of Mutual Fund Stock Holdings Invested in Fossil Fuels.

12 N.A. (ND). “About the Fossil Free Campaign.”

13 Heartwell, Allyse,’s national office. (February 2014). Personal communication.

14 N.A. (N.D.) “Commercial Paper.”

15 Adler, Ben. (March 2014). “Renewables dominate new US electrical capacity.” Contact: [email protected] for brochure pdf. The organization is Risky Business and numbers Henry Cisneros, former secretary of housing and urban development; Hank Paulson, former secretary of the treasury; and Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York. “We need climate-change risk assessment.” The Washington Post.

16 Nothing was ever collected, but the note said: “Lehman Brothers Securities, par value $20,187,000 and $171,115,000, were due to mature on 1/27/2010 and 5/25/2010, respectively. Both maturity payments were not received, and have been classified as a receivable. This receivable will be reported as a line item separate from regular Short Term Fund holdings until settlement of the bankruptcy. Book value shown is the book value of the holding as the time of the default, and not an estimate of recoverable amounts.” Office of the State Treasurer. (November 2010). OSTF Monthly Compliance, Top 10 Holdings Detail Reports. 1.

17 Texas Pacific owns two fossil-fuel companies, one of which is a July startup, and has holdings in six others. Considering that pension investments must meet long-term commitments and whether even that parent company will exist by its maturity date, the decision makers perhaps would have far less risk with venerable outfits such as Johnson & Johnson, 3-M, General Electric or Disney. Sickinger, Ted. (January 2014). “Oregon’s public pension fund commits $950 million to two TPG private equity funds.” The Oregonian. Sickinger, Ted. (March 2014). “Private equity funds keep paying off for state.” The Oregonian.

18 Loder, Asjylyn. (October 2013). “US Shale-Oil Boom May Not Last as Fracking Wells Lack Staying Power.” Bloomberg Businessweek.

19 Douglass, Elizabeth. (October 2013). “Investor Group Presses Oil Companies on ‘Unburnable Carbon.” Bloomberg Sustainability.

20 Volcovici, Valerie. (February 2014). “Investor group demands fossil fuel companies disclose carbon asset risk.” Reuters. Cardwell, Diane. (20 March 2014). “In Shift, Exxon Mobil to Report on Risks to Its Fossil Fuel Assets.” The New York Times.

21 Sussams, Luke. (January 2014). “Oil groups pressed by shareholders to cut capital spending.” Carbon Tracker Initiative. Volcovici, Valerie; Crowe, Tyler. (August 2013). “What’s Hiding in Big Oil’s Balance Sheet?The Motley Fool. “Their Net City of Portland (December 2013). “Portfolio Holdings at Custodian.” Section IV. 13. Ibid., November 2013.

22 Cushman, John H., Jr. (January 2014). “Will the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Sweep Through US Foundations? “Commitments.” Chambers, Karla. (September 1989), Oregon State University Foundation, personal communication.

23 Sky News US Team. (23 March 2014). “Massive Oil Spill in Houston Bird Sanctuary.” Sky News HD.

24 Ansar, A; Caldecott, B; Tilbury J. (2013). Stranded assets and the fossil fuel divestment campaign: what does divestment mean for the valuation of fossil fuel assets? Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford. N.A. (N.D.) Guide to Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean-energy Reinvesting! Green America. Trefis Team. (March 2014). “New Tank Car Regulations Proposed By AAR May Negatively Impact Railroads.” Forbes. Lehibach, David. (June 2013). “Crude by rail and the tank car boom: Is the risk profile changing as the crude tank car fleet grows?” Progressive Railroading.

25 Novick, Steve. (N.D.) Resolution. Ellis, Barbara. (March 2014). Personal observation. Fossil-fuel holdings in the portfolio include Chevron, Berkshire, Sumitomo, XTO Energy (Exxon) and Private Export Funding Corporation (banker to KBR). In June 2013, Portland’s new mayor, Charlie Hales, boasted to an environmental audience he was “proud that our city holds no direct fossil-fuel assets in our financial investment portfolio” and demanded the state follow suit. Speech text: Three weeks later he and the City Council approved a pair of $2 million, three-year bonds floated by Chevron and Berkshire owner of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe railroad. In mid-August, they approved a four-month, $15 million commercial-paper deal to Sumitomo, Japan’s answer to Halliburton’s oil-and-gas services and supplies. That was quickly followed by issuing $15 million in commercial paper to Caterpiller Industries [City of Portland Oregon. (October 2013). “Portfolio Holdings at Custodian.” 13-15].