In L.D. 1461, “An Act to Require the State to Divest Itself of Assets Invested in the Fossil Fuel Industry,” Maine citizens are calling on the Public Employees Retirement System to divest itself of holdings in coal, oil and gas companies.

Why? Extreme weather is causing us to experience more respiratory problems, Lyme disease, warming and acidification of the ocean, new pests stressing our agriculture and forests, decreased winter snowfall, as well as damage to our coastline, roads and bridges.

These problems are all due to the rise in global temperature brought on by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

World governments have agreed that a rise of 2 degrees Celsius in average global temperature is all we can afford if we hope to avoid severe climate disruption. A rise of 1.5 degrees is already inevitable.

The future of our children and grandchildren is at stake. We have the know-how to address this threat. Mainers are moving toward clean, renewable energy — solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, tidal. We need to invest in our state and our workers to create a green economy.

The fossil fuel industry, however, has a stranglehold on our government. It spends millions of dollars on elections, lobbying and denial of climate change. Coal, oil and gas companies are bent on extracting all reserves, in spite of the fact that they contain five times more carbon dioxide than we can afford to emit.

Meanwhile, financial experts from the International Monetary Fund to Standard and Poor’s are warning of a “carbon bubble,” an inevitable drop in the value of fossil fuel stocks that will result when more emission controls are initiated.

It would be irresponsible to continue to entrust the retirement funds of our public employees to the fossil fuel industry. We call on all concerned citizens to support L.D. 1461.

Karen Marysdaughter

Monroe

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