- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - The University of California system has in recent months sold off $200 million in endowment and pension fund holdings in coal and oil sands companies in a move meant to address both environmental concerns and worries over risk in the industries, officials said.

Jagdeep Bachher, UC’s chief investment officer, told the UC Regents’ investment committee at a meeting Wednesday that the sell-off was in response to “slowing global demand” along with “sustainability issues.”

Environmental and student groups have pushed for the action, along with a broader divestment in all fossil fuel companies.

“I think it’s a really good move by the university,” Alden Phinney, a student at UC Santa Cruz who is active in the group Fossil Free UC, told the Times. “But it doesn’t mean we are going to stop pushing for full divestment soon.”

But UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein tells the Los Angeles Times that there are no plans to sell off its investments in oil and natural gas companies, (https://lat.ms/1UCUZfw ). Last year the regents voted against such a wide sell-off, but said they would allow environmental and social issues to have a bigger influence on their decisions. The UC still holds about $10 billion in energy industry investments, or about 10 percent of its overall endowment.

UC officials told the Times the sell-off was done gradually and without fanfare in recent months.

Last week, lawmakers sent Gov. Jerry Brown a plan to force the state’s two largest public pension funds, the public employee and teachers’ retirement systems, to divest from coal holdings totaling about $300 million. It’s not clear whether Brown intends to sign the bill.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, https://www.latimes.com/


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