By Steve Levy
Letter to Council: Finding Common Ground on Addressing Climate ChangeUploaded: Feb 6, 2015
I appreciate and share the concern of councilmembers Berman, Burt, Holman and Kniss and of the faith leaders with respect to the importance of vigorously addressing climate change.
I have been trying to find a way to address their concerns with my conviction that Divestment is not an effective response.
I propose the following for everyone's consideration.
The focus of the resolution be shifted from Divesting in fossil fuel companies to INvesting in companies pursuing alternatives, all within prudent financial analysis and that the city public employees be surveyed for their preferences since it is their retirement funds we are discussing.
I know that emotions are high around these issues as evidenced by some strong language about the motives of fossil fuel companies and their investors including city employees and all of us who have mutual/index funds with these companies included.
I share three concerns not yet given a lot of attention and ask the faith leaders to consider them in good faith.
My largest concern is that limiting domestic oil production or oil production controlled by stock companies will shift the power over world oil production to governments in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Russia and Libya.
These countries have poor records on human rights, freedom and empowerment of women and I would have thought faith based organizations would be displeased with ceding economic power to such regimes.
There are also economic (think our improving trade position) and national security reasons (think of our increasing independence from needing oil from these countries) for preferring domestic production (which can be regulated) WHILE WE WORK TO REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE.
I find the Divestment debate divisive while I believe the INvestment in alternatives approach would bring people together.