Vermont Gov. Pitches Coal, Oil Divestment to Pension Committee


Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin on Tuesday morning attempted to persuade the Vermont Pension Investment Committee to divest from investments related to coal, as well as its ExxonMobil holdings.

The Committee currently opposes divestment.

More details on Shumlin’s presentation, via Vermont Business Magazine:

  • Financial Institutions Agree, Coal is a Bad Investment – Large financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs have pledged to “stop or scale back support for coal projects,” according to Bloomberg Business (link is external). A new report from Citigroup (link is external) shows that moves to combat climate change could lead to $100 trillion in stranded assets, with coal companies accounting for more than half of that potential loss in value. That’s “not the type of industry I would want my money invested in, or Vermont’s money invested in,” Gov. Shumlin said.

  • Coal Use and Mining is on the Decline – In the mid-2000’s coal represented 50 percent of America’s power supply. Today it accounts for only 35 percent according to the Energy Information Administration (link is external), a trend that is likely to continue because few coal plants are being built – in 2015 (link is external), only one new coal plant came online. “The market has spoken and it’s divesting itself of coal,” Gov. Shumlin said.

  • Coal Companies are Failing – The second-largest coal company, Arch Coal (link is external), filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, following bankruptcy filings by other major coal companies such as Walter Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, and Patriot Coal.

You can read the governor’s full testimony here.


Photo by  Paul Falardeau via Flickr CC License

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