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Seattle City Report: Fossil-Fuel-Free Fund “Outperforms” Standard S&P 500

The city of Seattle’s potential move towards divestment from fossil fuels is looking increasingly likely based on a recent report.

While the consultant’s report initially argues that divesting from fossil fuels is “reckless,” the analysis posted later in the report seems to show the opposite (humorously).


Presumably owing to this and other factors, city council member Nick Licata recently sent the city employee’s retirement fund board “back to the drawing board,” rather than simply accepting the report’s suggestions at face value.

The Seattle Met provides more:

Dig deep into the report, and you’ll find that even as the consultants lecture the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) on the supposed recklessness of divestment — “We believe that divestment from fossil fuel companies has the potential to reduce expected returns and increase risk in the fund and, therefore, violates the SCERS … Policy” — there’s some actual (though intentionally? inscrutable) analysis ten pages into the report that notes the opposite (FYI, the CU200 are the biggest carbon polluters):

“From a performance perspective, the S&P 500 screened against the CU200 outperforms the standard S&P 500 by approximately 30 basis points over 10 years ended May 2014.”

In other words, (in English): Take the CU200 out of Seattle’s S&P 500 investment portfolio and employees do better, the report says.

Lol. I’m not even sure what to make out of this. “Interesting,” I suppose….

That’s being charitable, though. You could very easily make the case that the only way that an interpretation like that would come about was if money signs were influencing someone’s thought processes.


Norway’s Biggest Pension Funds Manager Divesting From Coal

Fossil Fuel Divestment (Part I: The Whys and Hows)

Fossil Fuel Divestment (Part II: Reinvesting in the Green Economy)

Image Credit: City of Seattle

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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