The Piedmont Highlander

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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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APT resolves to divest from fossil fuels


The Association of Piedmont Teachers (APT) announced their resolution to end their retirement fund investments in fossil fuels due to the ongoing global climate crises. The money mentioned in their resolution is currently put toward teacher retirement funds. The resolution must be approved by the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) before their investments are withdrawn from the fossil fuel industry.

Fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, were accountable for 76% of U.S. human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, producing 5,074 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. CalSTRS currently invests over $6 billion dollars in fossil fuels.

“Teachers are realizing that the climate deterioration is something that we all participated in,” said social studies teacher David Keller. “And because we, as adults, spent 50 years contributing to this problem, we need to pay a price to solve it.”

APT, along with thousands of other state teacher associations, have submitted their resolutions to CalSTRS, who will make a decision about whether to discontinue California school’s investments in fossil fuels, Keller said. However, the results have been slow to return.

“Divestment from fossil fuel companies fails to address the myriad issues that contribute to climate change. As a global institutional investor with a long-term focus, we remain committed to understanding how climate risk affects our investment portfolios,” CalSTRS said in their address titled CalSTRS perspective on fossil fuel divestment. “A narrow focus on the fossil fuel industry only captures a portion of the much larger carbon emissions challenge.”

Despite these assertions, collegiate schools such Georgetown University and the University of California system have both made plans to divest from fossil fuels, with the UC system announcing their 100% divestment from fossil fuels earlier this year in May, according to CNN.

“I think the vast majority of teachers see the problem with passing the costs of climate change onto the next generation,” Keller said. “[It’s] making money off creating a problem for future generations. It’s ethically unbelievable that people are still doing this.”

Keller hopes that APT’s decision will set an example for all of Piedmont’s government organizations, including the Board of Education and Piedmont City Council, who have yet to officially try to divest from fossil fuels.

“I thought it was really good for [teachers] to come together and say that we don’t want to invest and support an industry that’s not good for the earth anymore,” said freshman and Green Club member Adia Lee.

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