California Becomes First State In Country to Divest From Coal

Media Contacts

Environment California

SACRAMENTO – California made history when the Legislature passed and Governor Brown signed SB 185 (De León) a bill that requires California’s public pension funds, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), to divest from holdings in thermal coal.

“California is once again proving that we walk the walk and talk the talk when it comes to battling climate change,” said Dan Jacobson, Legislative Director for Environment California. “This is just the beginning – we will now encourage all cities, counties, universities and others to follow suit and divest from coal.”

“Coal is losing value quickly and investing in coal is a losing proposition for our retirees; it’s a nuisance to public health; and it’s inconsistent with our values as a state on the forefront of efforts to address global climate change,” Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León said. “California’s utilities are phasing out coal, and it’s time our pension funds did the same.”

“This is a tremendous victory for the people of California and the divestment movement,” said Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century (For information about Green Century visit: “It is another sign that people have lost their faith in the fossil fuel industry and want their investments to reflect that conviction.” 

Bill McKibben, co-founder of said, “In the hottest year ever recorded, and with the smoke of California’s fires on the horizon, thank heaven Jerry Brown, Kevin deLeon, and other leaders have begun the process of divesting California from fossil fuels. These are 2 of the 20 largest pension funds on earth–their divestment sends a powerful signal that the world’s 8th largest economy can figure out where the future lies!.”

SB 185 is the first measure of its kind nationwide. CalPERS and CalSTRS are the largest public pension funds in the nation, with $292 billion and $191 billion in assets, respectively, as of August 2015.

For more information about SB 185 visit: