In his June 25 climate address, President Obama stated: “Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest.” The Divest Montgomery County campaign aims to do that, and ultimately encourage installation of solar energy in the County and across the nation. The County’s Employee Retirement Fund’s investments total over $3.2B. Analysis of similar public employee pension funds suggest that over $100,000,000 may be in fossil fuel company holdings – i.e., corporations that develop oil, gas or coal. Our petition directs the County to end further fossil fuel investments in its pension fund and to sell off its existing holdings over 5 years.
Divest Montgomery County is part of a national campaign led by noted environmentalist Bill McKibben (350.org), and includes campaigns involving over 100 local governments and 300 colleges. The 350.org campaign is inspired by the successful 1980s anti-apartheid movement to divest from corporations doing business in South Africa — which Nelson Mandela says was critical in ending apartheid. As the fossil industry loses its respectability, its ability to influence politicians will wane, we hope. 350.org’s Go Fossil Free campaign thus helps create the political space for legislation limiting carbon pollution and promoting solar PV and hot water and other clean, renewable energy sources and efficiency solutions. To learn more about the campaign contact Peter Murtha (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Geoff Kidd (email@example.com).Originally published, 2013 Maryland Solar Tour guide by Peter Murtha