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  • Rick Bonetti

Treasury Investment & Climate Protection Act

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

From: Cherice Bock, EMO/OLIS

Re: Oregon HB 2601 (The Treasury Investment & Climate Protection Act)

There is a hearing coming up this Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023 at 1 p.m. PST in the House Committee On Emergency Management General Government, and Veterans (a sub-committee of the Ways & Means Joint Committee) regarding HB 2601.

If you are not able to appear in person to give testimony here's a one-click email you can send your legislators, and/or copy and modify..

Background talking points, sample testimony, and submission details can be found in this testimony toolkit.

Divest Oregon coalition’s three key demands to the Oregon State Treasury are reflected in HB 2601. Here is what Divest Oregon has written:

"The Oregon Treasury has a fiduciary responsibility to protect all of Oregon's investments for the long term, including those in public employee retirement funds such as PERS. The current Treasury investment strategy leaves investments critically vulnerable to fossil fuel-related climate risk. The Oregon Treasury invests $137 billion in the people of Oregon, and at least $5.3 billion is in fossil fuels. The time to act is now.

Shifting Oregon Treasury holdings from risky fossil fuels to climate-safe investments protect PERS recipients, Oregon's valuable natural resources, and our collective future. HB 2601, the Treasury Investment and Climate Protection Act, instructs the Treasury to quickly move to climate-safe investments, using an environmental justice framework:

  • Immediately: End all NEW investments in fossil fuels since they pose a financial, health, and climate risk to Oregonians.

  • Over two years: Clean up all the public investments. Exit from the worst public carbon-intensive holdings within six months, and all the largest fossil-fuel producers within 2 years.

  • By 2035: Phase out ALL remaining fossil fuel investments, including private ones.

  • Immediately: Require transparency. Since it invests our money, the Treasury must provide detailed quarterly reports to the public and the legislature. We deserve to know that the Treasury’s investments protect our pensions and our future.

Why a bill to tell the Treasury to exit from fossil fuel investments? The funds of PERS and the Oregon Treasury are at risk. Those funds should be put into climate-safe investments that increase our resiliency as a people and as a state. The Treasurer’s plan to exit from fossil fuels by 2050 is too weak and too slow. It has been clear for years that institutions need to protect the returns of their pensions by divesting from fossil fuels. The data just keep accumulating, and even the Treasury’s climate risk assessments show that PERS retirement funds’ returns are at risk because of these investments. Meanwhile, fossil fuels are a dying industry and investments in that sector will be ever more difficult to sell. The urgency of the climate crisis demands that we act now. Only rapid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gases can prevent widespread devastation and extreme weather, and time is running out. A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) issued a rock-solid conclusion: There can be no new fossil fuels in a net-zero by 2050 pathway. Simply stated, our financial institutions must immediately halt all financing of fossil fuel expansion and phase out all fossil fuel holdings."


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