Days after thousands Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice, NYC pension fund investments to advance solutions, double down on fossil fuel divestment impact
New York, NY — Today, New York City announced its pledge to invest over $4 billion of the city’s public pension fund assets into climate solutions. The announcement follows the City’s fossil fuel divestment commitment made in January, one of the largest globally to date. This underscores Mayor Bill de Blasio’s focus on tipping the scales of investments toward a fossil free economy and driving a just transition away from the worst climate crisis scenarios. While specific criteria and investments are still being determined, today’s commitment is a critical step in the right direction.
This announcement comes as Hurricane Florence batters the east coast, and exactly one week after 3,000 New Yorkers joined the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice march in New York City in coordination with over 900 events around the world, urging elected officials at all levels to take bold action on climate change. The day before Rise for Climate, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer announced his opposition to the proposed Williams Pipeline a 23-mile pipeline from New Jersey, past the Staten Island coast and Coney Island and into the Rockaways.
“New York City’s action is the type of bold climate leadership we need from all elected officials during the Global Climate Action Summit and beyond,” said May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director. “As hurricanes sweep through the east coast and wildfires engulf the west coast, we will work for investments in community-led climate solutions that protect and support those most vulnerable to climate impacts.”
According to the Comptroller’s office, investments will be made in renewable energy companies building solar and wind projects including in New York, green bonds, energy efficiency programs including local energy retrofit programs, clean water funds and other local job creating climate solutions and resiliency industries. Historically, the average pension portfolio has between three and seven percent invested in coal, oil and gas. New York City is working to flip that and establish a new standard.
“As the Trump administration funnels money away from disaster relief and into immigrant detention centers and propping up fossil fuel interests, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are taking action for climate, jobs, and justice. New York City’s announcement is a direct result of people power,” said Boeve.
In January 2018, following over five years of community campaigning and the 5000-strong Sandy5 anniversary march, New York City announced its commitment to divest its $190 billion pension funds from fossil fuels and sue the largest oil companies for damages. New York City is the first major US city to make such a commitment. Today’s commitment addresses the other side of the coin, moving billions of dollars away from the problem and into climate solutions.
“New York City is now the world’s leader among large municipalities in divesting from oil and gas corporations and re-investing into clean energy,” said Rachel Rivera, a Sandy survivor and member of New York Communities for Change (NYCC). “As Florence bears down on the East Coast and Mangkhut on Hong Kong, we’re seeing the climate crisis accelerate. As a Sandy survivor, I’m especially happy my city is leading first on divestment from climate destruction and also investment into climate solutions. It’s time for other large pension funds to join in to help save our collective future.”
Timed with the Global Climate Action Summit in California, this announcement highlights the need for transformative climate investments. On Monday, New York City and London announced the convening of a global divestment forum, under the umbrella of the C40 Leadership Group, to support cities in advancing fossil fuel divestment and investment in climate solutions. The forum includes San Francisco, Paris, Oslo, Pittsburgh and San Jose and more.
“Exciting news! Great organizing by so many means billions of dollars will now be at work funding a fast, fair transition. It’s a strong reminder that what we push for is a new world that works for everyone,” said Bill McKibben, author and co-founder of 350.org.
Earlier this week, the latest “Global Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Energy Investment Movement” report compiled by Arabella Advisors revealed that nearly 1000 institutional investors with $6.24 trillion in assets have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment. This brings total commitments up from $52 billion just four years ago, a 120x increase, with New York City standing as one of the largest and most prominent commitments.
“Investments in companies that promote climate solutions have been producing solid investment returns for years. This initiative by a large institutional investor with global reach attests to sound financial fundamentals supporting a continuation of this positive outlook,” said Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Communities across the U.S. and around the world are continuing to push elected officials, particularly at the local level, to commit to building a Fossil Free world with community-led solutions through: (1) a just transition to 100% renewables for all; (2) no fossil fuel projects; and (3) not a penny more for dirty energy.
Contact: Lindsay Meiman, [email protected], + 1(347) 460-9082