Cuomo Proposes NY Pension Fund Divest from Fossil Fuel Investments

Governor Andrew Cuomo (right) and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (left) will work together to establish an advisory committee of financial, scientific, business, economic and workforce representatives. (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

A plan has been revealed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to remove the $200 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund from investments in fossil fuels and create an initiative for “de-carbonization.”

According to the Observer, “The plan, which calls on the Common Fund to end investments in entities with substantial fossil fuel-related activities, marks the ninth proposal of Cuomo’s upcoming 2018 State of the State address in January. The governor and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will work together to establish an advisory committee of financial, scientific, business, economic and workforce representatives. The committee will help the Common Fund come up with a ‘de-carbonization’ roadmap to invest in opportunities to fight climate change, support the clean tech economy, evaluate financial risks and protect the Common Fund.”

Large portions of the Common Fund’s portfolio have been called on by Cuomo to invest in organizations and programs that are working to advance clean energy.

In a statement, Cuomo said, “New York has made incredible strides in securing a clean energy future for this state with our nation-leading clean energy standard, off shore wind development, and aggressive investment in the clean tech economy, yet the Common Fund remains heavily invested in the energy economy of the past. Moving the Common Fund away from fossil fuel investments will protect the retirement savings of New Yorkers. This proposal lays out a roadmap for New York’s $200 billion Common Fund to take responsible steps to divest from its fossil fuel holdings, leading to a more secure retirement fund for countless New Yorkers while also helping to achieve the state’s clean energy goals.”

According to the office of the governor, over one million New Yorkers from all across the state have approximately $200 billion worth of their retirement assets managed by the Common Fund.

Over 50 oil and gas companies, which are among the world’s top 100 most carbon intensive, have holdings od the Common Fund in 2017.

DiNapoli said in a statement that the $2 billion low-carbon index shifts of the Common Fund will take investments out of companies who are the worst emitters and instead invest in organizations that are working to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. According to DiNapoli, the current commitment to sustainable investments of the Common Fund is $5 billion. He says this number is increasing along with the expanding efforts.

He said, “While there are no immediate plans to divest our energy holdings, I welcome the opportunity to partner with Governor Cuomo and with the proposed advisory council to identify additional ways to continue our progress in achieving investment returns, while contributing to the emerging low-carbon economy.”

By Rachel Shapiro

 

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