Divestment from fossil fuels may result in unintended consequences for residents. (Courtesy photo)

Letters: Fossil fuel investment is far from The City’s only option

“Retirement Board must put the needs of SF retirees first,” In My View, June 11

Fossil fuel investment is far from The City’s only option

What Carlos Solorazano and Yolanda Hudson make clear is a stunning level of incompetence when it comes to investment matters.
Their op-ed piece basically states that they or their investment advisors can’t get the same level of returns on their investment unless they invest in fossil fuels. Really?

You can look at any number of sectors that have outperformed fossil fuels by a wide margin recently.

Look at the NASDAQ, DOW or S&P versus oil stocks in the last three years. If they cared about their investments, they would have exited the fossil fuel business long ago.

I would say, in Hudson’s case, students have benefited immensely by her retirement. In the case of the professor quoted, it is clear why he teaches at Arizona State instead of Stanford.

Paul Nisbett

San Francisco

“Fossil fuel divestment would put SF’s money where its mouth is,” Green Space, June 7

Divestment is simply symbolic

Robyn Purchia’s recent column ignores the high costs and ineffectiveness of divestment.

According to a new report produced by Professor Daniel Fischel of the University of Chicago Law School and economic consulting firm Compass Lexecon, divestment would cost the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System an annual return shortfall of $11.5 million if it divested of oil, natural gas and coal securities — compounding to a $149 billion dollar loss over the next 50 years. If divestment was expanded to include utilities, this loss would grow to $15.7 annually and $201.7 billion over 50 years. The report also looked at CalPERS — the largest state pension fund — and found divestment would cost the fund $2.3 to $3.1 trillion over 50 years, and up to $290 million annually.

These are real losses for California and San Francisco leadership to consider. Divestment has shown to have no tangible impact on the environment, providing only a symbolic gesture and no change to policy or targeted companies. But divestment’s impact on retirees who rely on these pensions is very clear and not to be ignored.

California is an energy state, ranking third in the country for oil refining capacity and relying on natural gas for nearly 60 percent of its electricity generation. Divesting from the same energy resources that consumers and workers rely upon every day would be a costly, hypocritical and, above all, ineffective move.

Jeff Eshelman

Senior Vice President of Operations and Public Affairs

Independent Petroleum Association of America

“Selective law enforcement,” Letters, June 7

Enforcement a greater issue

Three cheers for Howard Epstein’s letter on selective law enforcement.

Not touched upon in the letter is San Francisco’s sanctuary by the homeless from not following the posted law against panhandling; sleeping in the doorways of empty and active businesses over night; residents feeding the homeless without a license; the homeless throwing this food and beverages on the sidewalks and doing their business on the sidewalks, like the residents have their pet dogs do.

Am I the only one who feels that San Francisco and California are run like democratic dictatorships?

Frank Norton

San Francisco

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