Boulder County Wants Insurance Companies To Ditch Their Fossil Fuel Investments

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David Zalubowski/AP
The nozzle sits in the fuel port of an automobile being refueled at a station in Boulder, Colo., Aug. 15, 2007.

Boulder County Commissioners have made the decision to start to move away from insurance companies that invest in oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels — becoming the first county in the U.S. to do so.

"We can't be investing in things that are detrimental to our constituents, our community, our planet,” said Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones.

Right now, local governments spend millions on insurance like worker’s compensation. Those companies, in turn, invest those dollars into portfolios that can include fossil fuels, which contribute to climate change. The country’s 40 largest insurers hold combined investments of over $450 billion in the coal, oil, gas and electric utility sectors, according to an analysis by Ceres.

The proclamation by Boulder County fits into a campaign by environmental groups called Insure Our Future, which asks insurance companies to divest from fossil fields.

Jones said the goal is to one day invest in insurance products that only support clean energy investments. Given that only two other local governments — San Francisco and Paris — have made divestment declarations, she admits it could take a while to accomplish the goal.

“To the degree that we can, we’re going to make our decision on whether or not to use your company based on whether or not you’re investing in things that we believe in,” the commissioner said.