Divestment is a losing proposition

Why hurt Maryland's pension fund with empty gesture?

As an active environmentalist, I applaud the steps that groups are taking to ensure our grandchildren's future on this planet. However, The Sun's recent article, "Maryland pension system begins weighing portfolio's carbon footprint" (October 19), has me concerned about the politicization of matters that should not be influenced by opinions, even if I do agree with the ultimate goal.

Pension funds have a responsibility to their beneficiaries to maintain a strong return on investment in order to provide a decent livelihood for the many employees they represent. By taking action to divest, the Maryland's pension system is subjecting the fund to a multitude of negative financial consequences that result from divestment.

In reality, divestment is a feel-good strategy that does nothing to directly help the environment and would undermine the ability of companies to create a sustainable future. A 2016 Progressive Policy Institute study even shows that energy production companies actually reinvest over $33.8 billion back into the economy — the second most of any sector in today's economy.

All in all, members of Maryland's General Assembly should consider the facts, not political opinions, before moving to divest.

Norris McDonald, Washington, D.C.

The writer is president of the African American Environmentalist Association.

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