CTA Divest!


  1. "Divestment is not a responsible investment."

    • In reality, the reverse of this statement is true. Two recent and comprehensive studies have concluded that companies and funds that have divested from fossil fuels have suffered no deleterious financial effects whatsoever – and have, in many cases, seen gains. Click HERE for more info.

2. "When CalSTRS divested from tobacco ten years ago the CalSTRS fund lost $5 billion dollars and tobacco stocks increased."

    • This statement comes from a CalSTRS report that compares our entire portfolio against the performance of other portfolios -- an inaccurate method of calculating whether or not prior divestments have gained or lost money. Click HERE for more info.

3. "Engaging companies to change them as a large investor is a better way to get change than divesting, pulling out money, and walking away."

  • Efforts over the decades to "engage" with fossil-fuel companies have totally failed. In fact, of the top 53 oil and gas companies, none are on track to align their emissions with the goals set forth by the Paris Climate Accord. Click HERE for more info.

4. "If CalSTRS divests from fossil fuels, other investors will just come in and buy up the stock."

  • It is a fallacy that divestment does not depress the economic value of stocks, that it does not dissuade other investors from purchasing it, or that it is not a historically powerful tool to affect political change. Click HERE for more info.

5. "Fossil fuel stocks are essential to a healthy portfolio."

    • The facts are that fossil fuel stocks are rapidly declining in value and have disastrous long-term prospects – and that re-investing in clean energy stocks is the smart move. Click HERE for more info.

6. "Every single time CalSTRS has divested, we've lost money."

    • CTA Divest reached out to Berkeley Economics Professor Claire Brown to help us investigate this claim. She and her team discovered that when CalSTRS divested from thermal coal, a fossil fuel, the portfolio fared better than had it not divested. Divesting from this fossil fuel actually saved CalSTRS from weaker returns. Refer to the chart and this Berkeley Report Summary for more details.


CTA Divest is a group of CTA Members and CTA State Council Delegates that believes a CalSTRS fossil fuel divestment exit strategy is the most responsible financial and environmental decision for the stability of our pensions and the well-being of our members, students, and communities. We stand in solidarity with peers, students, and allies who also advocate for CalSTRS to divest from fossil fuels.

Why We Formed

A group of CTA members and state council delegates started CTA Divest! after we realized that:

  1. Most CTA members understand that the Climate Crisis is critical and seem to support taking bold, urgent action to address it.

  1. Fear of fossil fuel divestment and what it could possibly do to the stability of our pensions was real, deep, and preventing movement forward on divestment.

  1. CalSTRS seemed to only ever present information to CTA and CTA’s Retirement Committee that played on this pension fear, echoing fossil fuel industry talking points on divestment and cherry-picking data to make it seem it would be too risky to divest.

  1. There was an absence of critical examination of CalSTRS claims that "divestment was not responsible", despite the mountain of growing evidence showing divestment to be an effective, prudent action that pension funds all over the world are committing to without harm to portfolio returns.


1. Expand dialogue within CTA regarding divestment and address misconceptions that frequently surround the issue, especially in regards to pension fund stability.

2. Organize CTA supporters of fossil fuel divestment.

3. Through CTA State Council in 2021/2022, pass an item of fossil fuel divestment support that urges CalSTRS to implement a thoughtful and phased withdrawal from fossil fuels.

Full 15-minute CTA Divest Presentation

  • Explains who CTA Divest is and our organization's goals.

  • Corrects common misconceptions about fossil fuel divestment:

      • Divestment is effective and financially responsible.

      • Staying invested in fossil fuels puts our pensions at risk.

      • Investor engagement has been futile; CalSTRS' strategy needs to change.

      • CalSTRS has not yet committed to divestment.

  • Lays out our strategy for (hopefully) getting CTA to support CalSTRS fossil fuel divestment.

CTA members spoke at the CalSTRS Board meeting on July 8, asking for data for substantiate CalSTRS anti-divestment claims and emphasizing the data that shows Fossil Fuel Divestment IS financially & environmentally responsible.