14. Dane County Passes Resolution Divesting Investments in Fossil Industry – Calls on the University of Wisconsin, the State of Wisconsin, and other local governments in Wisconsin to Follow Suit

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On Thursday, June 6th, The Dane County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution calling for divestment from fossil fuels. The resolution, introduced by Progressive Dane Supervisor Kyle Richmond, calls on Dane County, The University of Wisconsin, the State of Wisconsin, and other local governments to divest their holdings from fossil fuel companies.

The resolution passed with near unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors.The resolution, which correctly states what 97% of the scientific community asserts: “[that] the climate crisis (global warming) is a serious threat to current and future generations in Dane County and around the world”.

DANE COUNTY SUPPORTS DIVESTMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS

The climate crisis is a serious threat to current and future generations in Dane County and around the world.

In 2007, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that global warming was real, primarily caused by human activities, posed significant risks and is already causing costly disruption of human and natural systems throughout the world including the melting of Arctic ice, the ocean’s rise in acidity, flooding and drought.

Climate experts, scientific organizations representing every major discipline, and dozens of national academies of science overwhelmingly agree with IPCC findings.

In 2009, 167 countries endorsed the non-binding Copenhagen Accord which, as drafted by the United States, China, India and Brazil, states that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe, and that humans can only emit about 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to maintain this limit. If all the known reserves of coal, oil, and gas in 2010 were burned, they would emit 2,795 gigatons of CO2, or roughly five times the amount we can safely release to maintain a 2°C limit of planetary warming.

For the purposes of this resolution, a “fossil fuel company” shall be defined as any of the 200 publicly traded companies with the largest coal, oil, and gas reserves as measured by the gigatons of carbon dioxide that would be emitted if those reserves were extracted and burned, as listed by the Carbon Tracker Initiative in its “Unburnable Carbon” report.

The Carbon Tracker Initiative report found that fossil fuel companies possess proven fossil fuel reserves that would release approximately 2,795 gigatons of CO2 if they are burned, which is five times the amount that can be released without exceeding 2°C of warming, a limit that nearly every country on Earth, including the United States, has agreed to meet.

The county has made a commitment to improve the sustainability of its operations, management, and policymaking, and is working to adopt policies and take actions to plan for and address climate change mitigation and adaptation as a critical element of its sustainability efforts.

Dane County was a founding county of NACo’s Cool Counties Climate Stabilization Initiative, which pledges to reduce global warming emissions 80% below current levels by 2050 and implement plans to prepare for and build resilience to climate impacts. Dane County also adopted and approved Resolution 20, 6-20-06 urging Congress, the federal administration, and the state to take immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and Resolution 84, 8-22-07 supporting climate pollution reduction efforts and committing to take immediate steps to help the federal, state, and local governments within the county achieve the 2050 climate stabilization goal.

Dane County has a responsibility to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its inhabitants from the threats of climate change and is committed to ensuring a resilient and vibrant community for the future.

Dane County believes that its investments should support this responsibility and commitment.

Dane County does not directly invest in any fossil fuel companies or in commingled assets that include holdings in fossil fuel companies.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Dane County Board of Supervisors declares that it is the policy of Dane County not to invest in fossil fuel companies.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Dane County Treasurer shall not make any new investments in fossil fuel companies or in commingled assets that include holdings in fossil fuel companies.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Dane County urges other local governments, the University of Wisconsin, the State of Wisconsin, and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board to join Dane County in these efforts and divest their own holdings from fossil fuel companies.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that Dane County will send a copy of this resolution to the Dane County Cities’ and Villages’ Association, the Dane County Towns Association, the Wisconsin Counties Association, the National Association of Counties, the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, the Dane County legislative delegation, and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

Submitted by Supervisors Richmond, Krause, Stubbs, Bollig, Wegleitner, Schmidt, Corrigan, Veldran, Chenoweth, de Felice, Miles, Sargent, Downing, Erickson, Bayrd, Pertl, Salov, Hotchkiss, Zweifel, Hesselbein, Dye, Kolar, Matano, Pan and Rusk, May 23, 2013.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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