Letter: St. Paul should divest from fossil fuel companies
Because we are living in a time of unprecedented threat by climate change more symbolism and stronger social movements are essential to address this crisis.
Knowing what we know about climate change, the City of St. Paul and Mayor Chris Coleman have the opportunity and obligation to lead in reducing carbon emissions. Part of that responsibility includes using our institutional voice to add momentum to the growing fossil fuel divestment movement, a movement that is achieving tangible change.
Thus a request was made to St. Paul Councilmember Amy Brendmoen to consider introducing a resolution similar to the one that was recently (and overwhelmingly) passed in Minneapolis to support the global fossil fuel divestment movement by banning the city from making investments in dirty fuels.
Despite the fact that Brendmoen and Council President Russ Stark have offered their support, Mayor Coleman has single-handedly eliminated the chance that either councilmember will even author and introduce such a resolution.
This, despite the fact that Mayor Coleman claims, “St. Paul has consistently been a model of collaboration on sustainability projects, and we remain committed to working together into the future as we strive to reduce our contribution to climate change.”
If our mayor claims we are committed to addressing climate change but will not pass a resolution supporting the movement to divest from the core companies that are driving the crisis, we are in deep trouble.
While the Minneapolis City Council understood the symbolic nature of the resolution and used it to pressure Minneapolis institutions and the state government to divest from fossil fuels, the mayor of St. Paul has yet to grasp the importance of such a resolution and the importance of social movements in catalyzing more climate action.
While the City of St. Paul does not have direct investments in dirty energy, city employees have pension funds that are invested in fossil fuels through the state. These people currently do not have a choice in their money being carelessly invested in a dying industry with dismal prospects, and one that is threatening life on Earth. They deserve that choice.
St. Paul has an obligation to use its legitimacy and credibility as a city to call on the state and other institutions within the city to consider divestment from fossil fuels.
Let’s demand that Mayor Coleman stand by his words with action.
Please call him today at 651-266-8510 and ask that he support the effort to pass a fossil fuel divestment resolution in St. Paul.
Katheryn Schneider, Fossil Free St. Paul
Fossil Free St. Paul is a group of St. Paul residents working to get a city council resolution passed to support the fossil fuel divestment movement.