New York City mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing that the city’s pension funds divest from coal.

He also proposed that the pension funds develop a long-term investment strategy that evaluates the funds’ fossil fuel investments and makes recommendations to further reduce contributions to climate change while protecting retirees.

The city’s five pension funds’ assets total over $160 billion; that includes at least $33 million of exposure to thermal coal in the public markets.

Read: Norway sovereign wealth fund to sell coal investments

“New York City is a global leader when it comes to taking on climate change and reducing our environmental footprint,” he says. “It’s time that our investments catch up—and divestment from coal is where we must start.”

An analysis by the mayor’s office of pensions and investments found that divestment from coal poses little risk to pension fund returns, especially given the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s new clean power plant rules and increased regulatory limitations on emissions, which help reduce the attractiveness of thermal coal as an investment.

The mayor’s office will bring this proposal to all five New York City pension boards over the coming months to examine the specific impact and optimal reallocation of these assets.

The five primary pension funds for New York City employees include the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York, the New York City Police Pension Fund, the New York City Fire Department Pension Fund, and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System.

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Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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