February 22, 2021

Green Valley Dairy’s solar field in Krakow, Wis. installed by Arch Electric/Photo Arch Electric

The Governor’s Task Force on Climate Change Report released in December 2020 includes 55 climate solutions across nine sectors. The recommendations aim to help the state to better adapt to and mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, while also seeking environmental justice and economic opportunities in renewable energy and conservation.  

The report says divesting from fossil fuels could be a smart financial choice to help Wisconsin fight the devastation of climate change, according to Dem Rep. Greta Neubauer of the state’s climate task force. The report recommends that the state divest fossil fuel stocks and other interests, as a tier-two policy option, which means that it was an issue raised by the public that didn’t draw support from all 31 members.

“A growing number of financial analysts and economists argue that fossil fuels will prove to be a bad investment, as climate change continues to accelerate and renewable energy becomes even more cost competitive,” said Rep. Neubauer, a Racine Democrat. “Over the past few years, coal and oil stocks have shown great vulnerability and volatility, a trend that has only accelerated during the pandemic. Divestment is not only a symbolic demonstration of our values and our support for a just, sustainable future — it is a reasoned financial choice when the market is already moving away from fossil fuels.”

The Wisconsin Retirement System accounts for approximately 90 percent , about $129.7 billion, of the $143.9 billion of total assets under management at the State of Wisconsin Investment Board.

Ultimately, divestment would call for fossil fuel stocks to be removed from state-owned investments; the top 200 fossil fuel companies owned by the Wisconsin Retirement System, the UW System Foundations. It also would call for the banning of any future investments in these stocks or other interests.