New York State Pension to Go Green, Divest From Fossil Fuels

In this Jan. 1, 2019 file photo, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli delivers his address after taking his oath of office. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The New York State Common Retirement Fund, one of the world’s largest and most powerful, will divest from fossil fuel stocks in the coming years.


The pension fund, with approximately $226 billion worth of assets, will no longer invest in energy sources like oil sands, shale, and gas. It is the third-largest public pension fund in the country, and invests the assets of more than 1 million New York residents.

A review of all companies the fund invests in, to determine if they meet the fund’s clean-energy standards, will be completed in 2025. The goal is to “transition its portfolio to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040,” according to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.

“New York State’s pension fund is at the leading edge of investors addressing climate risk, because investing for the low-carbon future is essential to protect the fund’s long-term value,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “Achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 will put the Fund in a strong position for the future mapped out in the Paris Agreement. We continue to assess energy sector companies in our portfolio for their future ability to provide investment returns in light of the global consensus on climate change. Those that fail to meet our minimum standards may be removed from our portfolio.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio applauded DiNapoli’s announcement, saying, “Fossil fuels not only harm our planet – they’re a bad investment.”


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