Two New York City pension funds–the New York City Employees Retirement System and the New York City Teachers Retirement System–will divest $4 billion from fossil fuels officials said Tuesday.
“The divestment from fossil fuels is necessary and possible and necessary,” said New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer. “Smart investments policy and smart climate solutions go hand in hand and we are putting our money where our mouth is.”
Officials on Tuesday said that both pension funds recently voted to divest from fossil fuels and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System is expected to hold a vote soon.
In 2018, Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Stringer, and the funds’ trustees announced plans to divest from fossil fuel reserve owners by 2023 and the recently approved divestment plans are on track to be being completed by this original deadline, according to Stringer.
That same year, the mayor and comptroller pledged to double pension funds’ investments in climate solutions–such as wind and solar energy–by $4 billion by 2021.
“This is an area where we have an obligation to lead, with vision, with action…we have to make up for lost ground,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, referencing former President Donald Trump’s 2017 decision to remove the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. “These agreements are the floor, not the ceiling.”
The divestment plans also received support from union leadership including the United Federation of Teacher’s President Michael Mulgrew, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, and Teamsters Local 237 President Gregory Floyd.
“The world economy and our pension investments need to focus on the future, while fossil fuels are the energy sources of the past,” said Mulgrew in a statement. ” After extensive study and consultation with outside experts, the TRS Board has determined that the best strategy for our members will be to divest in the next three years more than $1.5 billion — the majority — of our fossil fuel holdings, and to do so in a way that will protect the financial strength of the overall fund.”