NYC's Biggest Pension Fund Lost $135 Million From Oil and Gas Holdings
A new report from Advisor Partners revealed that in one year alone, New York City’s largest pension fund lost around $135 million from their holdings in the top 100 oil and gas companies. The Teacher’s Retirement System of the City of New York, representing more than 200,000 teachers, educators and workers, incurred a 25 percent reduction in returns of their $60 billion fund from investments in oil and gas.
“If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage—but our city’s pension funds are incurring nothing but losses by investing in fossil fuels," Mimi Bluestone, a member of the United Federation of Teachers and a campaigner with 350NYC, said. “The money lost from oil and gas investments just in the last year is equivalent to putting about 7,000 students through school for a year. It’s time for New York City to get out of the business of climate destruction.”
The findings of this report add significant momentum to activists calling for fossil fuel divestment. Organizers with 350NYC have been campaigning for the city council to divest the city’s five pension funds from all fossil fuels for over three years. During the Paris climate talks, it was announced that more than 500 institutions representing over $3.4 trillion in assets under management have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment.
ExxonMobil and Chevron were the largest contributors to the fund’s declining performance, causing losses surpassing $39 million. In November, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into Exxon’s climate lies after groundbreaking reports revealed that the corporation knew about climate change for decades, yet poured resources into discrediting their research and sowing doubt among the public. California Attorney General Kamala Harris has also launched an investigation.
“Oil & gas companies are volatile investments. The fact that these companies underperformed both the U.S. and broader global index by more than 25 percent confirms the riskiness of these companies,” Rahul Agrawal, CIO of Equities for Advisor Partners, said. “Portfolio managers should carefully reassess their exposure to these securities before investing in them.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Mayor Bill De Blasio have already issued urgent calls for the city’s pension funds to divest from coal. Coal is on its way out, oil prices are plummeting and major fossil fuel companies are filing for bankruptcy, slashing jobs and cancelling projects.
“The prudence of divesting from coal is so legible it is quickly becoming the norm. Oil and gas are on a more asperous decline, making it harder for investors to see the mounting risk associated with the industry. New York City’s pension funds need to divest now, as cautious, long-term investors,” Brett Fleishman, senior analyst with 350.org, said.
“With this summit happening right in their backyard, NYC’s comptroller and pension fund managers must communicate exactly what they’re doing to incorporate ever-increasing climate risk mitigation and to protect the future of New York City’s workers.”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Bill Maher is sick of billionaires' obsession with Mars, more like "Mars-a-Lago," he said.
In a new animation produced by ATTN:, the popular talk show host of Real Time, discusses the perils of our planet, including how "climate change is killing us."
A group of prominent climate scientists have written a study explicitly refuting statements made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on climate data. During his Senate confirmation hearing, Pruitt claimed in a written response that satellite data shows a "leveling off" of warming over the past two decades.
By David Pomerantz
The Nevada Assembly passed a bill Wednesday that would dramatically increase the growth of renewable energy in the state, but Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and major donor to Donald Trump, is attempting to prevent the bill from becoming law.
By Yosola Olorunshola
Whether it's through fashion or protest, Vivienne Westwood is not a woman afraid of making a statement.
On May 23, she rocked up to the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury in London with a special guest—the Grim Reaper—to issue a strong statement on the Church of England's position on fracking.
Military veterans from across Virginia released a letter Thursday opposing two proposed fracked-gas pipelines: Dominion Energy's Atlantic Coast Pipeline and EQT's Mountain Valley Pipeline. These pipelines would cross through pristine areas of Virginia, taking private property by use of eminent domain, removing mountain ridgetops and threatening valuable drinking water resources. The veterans view this as contrary to their service to protect and defend the freedom and security of American citizens.
By Paul Brown
The food industry and big agricultural concerns are driving climate change and at the same time threatening to undermine efforts to feed the world's growing population, according to GRAIN, an organization that supports small farmers.
Particularly singled out for criticism are the large chemical fertilizer producers that have gained access to the United Nations talks on climate change. GRAIN accuses them of behaving like the fossil fuel companies did in the 1990s, pushing false information in the hope of delaying real action on climate change.
By Sydney Robinson
By John Rogers
Maybe it's because I first started working on clean energy while serving in the Peace Corps he founded, or maybe it's my years of working on these issues from his home state. But I can't help thinking about the 100th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's birth, and connecting his stirring rhetoric to the energy challenges of our times.
Here's what our 35th president might have said about the challenges of energy transition and the opportunities in clean energy:
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."