LETTER: Divest, District of Squamish | Squamish Chief

LETTER: Divest, District of Squamish

Regarding the article “Despite hesitations, Squamish invests money with fund that could have fossil fuel ties,” published on The Chief website April 7.

On July 2, 2019, Squamish council declared a climate emergency, citing both global concerns and the obvious impacts to Squamish itself of runaway climate change.

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On March 3, 2020, the same Squamish council deliberately approved investing in a fund that may contain fossil-fuel related assets.

Divestment isn’t about each of us individually having an impact by refusing to support fossil fuel companies. My personal investment choices make no difference. Frankly, neither does the District of Squamish’s decision about where to invest these $5 million. But together, we’re strong. In the last six months, divestment campaigns have led to JP Morgan Chase pulling out from funding coal projects and oil and gas development in the Arctic; to private equity firm BlackRock making a central commitment to climate; to Goldman Sachs withdrawing funding for mountaintop removal projects, and more. In January, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said that fossil fuel equities are “in their death knell” and attributed that to the divestment movement. At the end of 2019, US$12 trillion of institutional assets had been withdrawn from fossil fuel funding. Divestment is working, but we need to hold the line.

Squamish, it’s long past time to take our climate emergency declaration seriously.

I urge council to revisit this investment decision and to review any other holdings the District may have. In the same way that COVID-19 is affecting every aspect of our lives today, so too will climate change soon. We are a coastal community, prone to wildfires and situated on a delta at the confluence of three rivers. We’re already seeing effects and if we don’t begin to take climate change seriously, both as a community and globally, these effects will accelerate beyond our worst imaginations.

Thank you to councillors Chris Pettingill and Armand Hurford for your continued commitment to acting within the context of our ongoing climate emergency.

Nick Gottlieb

Garibaldi Highlands

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