Santa Monica City Hall To Look Into Fossil Fuel Investments

Tuesday, 11 Dec 2012, 1:33:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

The environment is always a hot discussion item in the world of politics, yet there is a national movement against fossil fuels that has recently arrived in the City of Santa Monica. Thanks to an inquiry presented Nov. 27 to civic leaders by Council member Kevin McKeown, City Hall will look into its investments to determine whether Santa Monica is invested in any stocks of companies using fossil fuels in some capacity.

Depending on what the inquiry will reveal in the next two months, McKeown hopes the rest of his colleagues – sans Richard Bloom and Bobby Shriver, who both sat on the dais for the final time last week – will vote in favor of distancing the City from companies who use fossil fuels.

“There is a movement afoot in the land to acknowledge the fact that our planet is suffering greatly from our use of fossil fuels by urging universities and other public entities to divest from stocks in fossil fuel companies,” McKeown stated when introducing the council member discussion item last week.

“Fossil fuels are on their way out. Solar energy and other renewable energy sources are on the way in,” he added.

McKeown added an initial analysis by City staff indicates Santa Monica does not have much invested in companies using fossil fuels.

“I think more major is the statement we would make as a community by choosing to divest from stocks in fossil fuels,” he said.

Council members agreed to direct City staff to look into the matter and return back to the dais – which will have a new mayor and two members in place of Bloom and Shriver – in February with its findings.

Depending on what City staff presents, the council may or may not vote in favor of actually divesting from stocks in fossil fuel companies.

Nonetheless, McKeown’s request shed light on a national movement calling upon certain institutions to withdraw investments in fossil fuels. The specific movement is entitled “Do the Math” and is backed by the organization

The “Do the Math” campaign is reaching out to colleges and universities, public pension funds, and religious groups.

The campaign hopes by promoting these entities to no longer invest in fossil fuels, the political lobby for the energy source will be diminished within five years and other forms of energy may be more accessible to the mainstream public.

Last month, an estimated 100 students reportedly marched at an event at UCLA as part of a campaign to divest from fossil fuels. News reports also stated the mayor of Seattle made inquiry not too different from McKeown’s request to look into how that city’s funds are invested and if a divestment could and should be done. Just the same, Unity College in Maine reportedly intends to execute a play of divestment from fossil fuels.

The “Do the Math” movement against fossil fuels appears to be motivated by the theorized impacts of fossil fuels on the weather. Fossil fuels have long been accused as being the culprit of climate change and global warming.

A coordinated effort to hit the fossil fuel industry where it hurts the most – its wallet – the divestment strategy hopes to yield an increased reliance on alternative forms of energy that could alter climate change and, potentially, minimize or reverse the negative impacts of climate change.

More information of the “Do the Math” movement against fossil fuels can be found at the website

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