Students at UC Berkeley demonstrated in 2013 for UC divestment from fossil fuel companies. (Fossil Free UC)

Students at UC Berkeley demonstrated in 2013 for UC divestment from fossil fuel companies. (Fossil Free UC)

The UC system has sold off its endowment and pension fund holdings in coal and oil sands companies, a $200-million move that officials said Wednesday was in response to both environmental concerns and rising financial risk in those industries.

UC still has about $10 billion in various types of energy industry investments, about 10% of the $100 billion or so it holds in endowment and pension funds, UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said. There are no plans to extend the sell-off into oil and natural gas.

The coal and oil sands sell-off was announced Wednesday by UC’s chief investment officer, Jagdeep Bachher, at the meeting of the UC regents’ investment committee. According to a transcript of the meeting, Bachher said that “slowing global demand, an increasingly unfavorable regulatory environment, and a high threat of substitution pose insurmountable challenges to coal mining companies.” And he added that “sustainability issues” also have made it too risky to remain in oil sands businesses.

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