Ann Arbor city council calls for divestment from fossil fuels

The Ann Arbor city council has adopted a resolution calling on the city’s retirement board to divest from fossil fuels, making the city one of the first 20 cities in the country to pursue divestment.

On a national level, the divestment campaign has been spurred by Bill McKibben, the influential writer and teacher who was a founder of 350.org.

In a recent article in Sierra magazine, McKibben said the movement was looking for “the same effect divestment had on apartheid in South Africa: a clear statement from the elites of society that they understand that the fossil fuel industry is now a rogue industry and they don't want to be associated with it.”

According to the city council resolution, “Continued support for the fossil fuel industry undermines the quality of life for the City of Ann Arbor retirees and runs counter to the requirement of the City of Ann Arbor Employees’ Retirement System’s duty of ‘providing benefits to members’.”

The resolution cites the city’s climate action plan, which has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025 and 90 percent by 2050.

In Ann Arbor, the divestment effort was supported by Ann Arbor 350, a project of the Ecology Center to promote local action to address climate change.

“This would not have happened without support across the community,” according to Monica Patel, policy specialist at the Ecology Center and coordinator of Ann Arbor 350. “In particular, members of the city energy commission like Mike Shriberg, Wayne Appleyard and Dina Kurz drafted and then championed the resolution by delivering public comments at the council meeting. The student-led campus divestment campaign also stood up and spoke out as did members of Ann Arbor 350.”

To learn more about other cities’ divestment plans and the campaign in general, see 350.org’s Fossil Free Campaign.

EcoLink — October 2013
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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