California State Treasurer Fiona Ma supports fossil fuel divestment bill

"The growing momentum behind SB 252 is undeniable.”

CALIFORNIA – Ahead of its hearing before the Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee on April 12, Senate Bill 252 – legislation to divest California’s public pension funds from fossil fuels – has received resounding support from California Treasurer Fiona Ma.

On Ma’s support, Miguel Alatorre, Fossil Free California’s Campaigns Organizer, said:

“With Treasurer Ma’s influential support of CalSTRS and CalPERS divesting from toxic and volatile fossil fuels, the growing momentum behind SB 252 is undeniable. We are living through intensifying fires and floods, deadly heat, and deepening drought, particularly in the places where I work and organize–the Central Valley, California’s bread basket. Yet our state’s pension funds continue to bankroll climate chaos. This is about CalPERS and CalSTRS meeting fiduciary duty, and protecting not only the funds they manage, but of the lives and livelihoods of people across California – especially the Black, Indigenous, and people of color whose homes and communities are hit first and hardest.”

Released earlier this week, the latest IPCC report undeniably asserts that an immediate, rapid phaseout of fossil fuels and scale up of renewables is needed to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. Earlier this month, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) affirmed that, despite resistance and disinformation, the financial case for fossil fuel divestment in California is stronger than ever.

Treasurer Fiona Ma’s statement reads: 

“It’s time to take the next step in climate action. Divestment sends a message to companies that have shown little interest in seriously addressing a problem that places human existence in peril for the sake of profits: time’s up. The next generation is already making clear that they won’t accept climate inaction and we should put our money where our mouth is. While engagement is, and will continue to be, an effective tool in this effort, California has an opportunity to again lead on climate issues, energizing the global advocacy effort and ensuring the long-term sustainability of retiree pensions. This legislation gives our pension funds the necessary time to prudently plan for divestment, including identifying suitable investment alternatives, which a growing body of academic research shows exists. Importantly, it also provides strong fiduciary exceptions to allow pension fund staff to first and foremost ensure that retirees get their hard-earned paychecks, in full.”

To date, over 1,550 institutions representing more than $40 trillion in assets have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment. CalPERS and CalSTRS would have generated an additional $11.9 billion and $5.5 billion respectively by 2019 had they divested in 2009 according to Corporate Knights. This is the equivalent of $6,072 per CalPERS member and $5,752 per CalSTRS member in this 10 year period. 

This comes as fossil fuel-funded politicians peddle anti-ESG legislation and false, politically-motivated claims, costing taxpayers millions. Ten states across the U.S. are mobilizing to pass divestment legislation. SB 252 is endorsed by over 100 organizations and unions, including AFSCME, California Nurses Association (CNA), CFT, Oakland Education Association (OEA), United Educators of San Francisco (UESF).


Contact: Miriam Eide | Fossil Free California | (707) 410-0896  |