For people who care about humanity, the planet, and their investments - there are four clear reasons why divesting from fossil fuels is obvious and essential:
Divestment sends a clear, unequivocal message. This is about numbers - not in dollars - but in people. If millions of people remove their financial interest in fossil fuel companies, that will send a very clear and very powerful message to governments and legislators. It's time to take on this problem and pass intelligent legislation. The solutions are not easy and we're running out of time. All political leaders need to wake up or get out of the way.
Divestment is a reminder. The more that each of us pays attention to all the ways in which energy plays into our lives (including our investments), the more likely we will move ourselves and our families toward consuming energy in a sustainable and socially responsible way.
Divestment lowers investment risk. Investments in fossil fuels companies will become riskier and riskier. Despite what many on Wall St. are saying, staying in fossil fuels increase investment risk. Fossil fuel companies are no longer the stable investment stalwarts they once were.
Divestment provides reinvestment opportunities. The new energy economy is booming, and that growth is going to accelerate - more than 1 billion people don't have access to a reliable energy supply. New companies are being created every day, and established companies are quickly moving to create new products - including home energy networks, advanced energy storage systems, and smart efficient vehicles. That innovation will continue to ramp up, and it will last for decades. Whether your investment style is aggressive and "growth" oriented, or conservative and "income" oriented, the emerging new energy economy provides compelling reinvestment opportunities.
The most common argument against personal divestment is the idea that collectively individual investors do not represent enough money - that the actions of divestors will not move the needle because their financial clout is too small. But, that argument completely misses the point. Divestment is about voting with your personal investments. As the number of divestors grows, the voice of the divestor community will join the global call for a new clean energy economy. The true power of individual divestment is rooted in the number of people who choose to take action.
What you do with your money also sends a message to the institutions in our communities that are the major investors - pension funds, university endowments, large non-profits, to name a few. The institutional investors have enormous financial influence, and the divestment discussion within their ranks is growing. Show your support by taking action with your own money.
Many investment advisors make the point that your investment decisions should allow you to sleep at night. Sleep better by knowing that you've done something to change the future for your kids and everybody who will come after you. Be the change.