For immediate release
Portland’s in! Mayor Charlie Hales helps Portland join over a dozen US cities pursuing divestment from fossil fuels, urges state to follow suit
PORTLAND, OR—Just two hours after members of 350 PDX, the local chapter of Bill McKibben’s organization 350.org, urged the Portland City Council to divest any funds it may have tied to fossil fuel companies, Mayor Charlie Hales announced his support for fossil-fuel divestment in Portland and urged the state of Oregon to follow suit during a keynote speech for UN World Environment Day. This announcement adds Portland to a growing list of more than a dozen US cities committed to total divestment over the next five years.
350 PDX was delighted by the news after having worked hard over the past few months on building momentum for divestment through a grassroots effort that included signature gathering for a petition directed at the Portland City Council and direct contact with city council members. 350 PDX organizer Adam Brunelle expressed his group’s excitement: “Given that our atmosphere recently reached the dubious milestone of 400ppm of CO2, we are thrilled not only that our Mayor recognizes the urgency of the issue, but that he also recognizes fossil fuels as risky long-term investments.”
“Why take this seemingly risky investment strategy?” Hales offered. “Because [NOT] doing it is the truly risky move. The vast majority of fossil fuel assets are owned by 200 publicly traded companies. Eventually, these companies will burn through their entire reserves. We don’t know when that will happen, but by definition, we know that it must.”
“By acting locally,” Hales declared, “we can send a message to the world that investment in fossil fuels is a losing proposition, and that loosening our dependence on fossil fuels will increase our quality of life.”
350 PDX citizen activist Dr. Adriana Voss-Andreae, a mother concerned for her children’s future, commented: “The message is loud and clear: If it is wrong to wreck the climate and the planet, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. We thank the Mayor for hearing our message and showing bold leadership by asking our state to do the same.”
“The City,” Hales said, “must urge the Oregon State Treasurer, the Local Government Investment Pool and the Oregon Investment Council to divest of all state holdings in fossil fuels.”