New York City Wants To Divest $33 Million From Coal

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer wants to divest nearly $33 million in pension funds from the city’s coal investments.

“A pending resolution to divest from coal is now before us,” Stringer said during a Thursday speech to the Citizens Budget Commission. “And I can tell you that my vote will be to divest. It’s not just the smart thing to do from a fiduciary point of view, it’s the right thing for our planet, for our children and, yes, for our retirees.”

New York City officials, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, have urged divestment from coal since September due to pressure from environmentalists. Stringer oversees New York City’s pension system which covers 715,000 city workers, retirees, and beneficiaries. The city has approximately $160 billion in pension funds.

The divestment movement is heavily supported by environmental organization like and Greenpeace, which have heavily pressured New York City. Environmentalists have argued divestment would hurt fossil fuel companies, while major environmentalists like Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein say that the movement is intended to”de-legitimize and stigmatize” the fossil fuel industry.

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

A study by the National Association of Scholars showed that divestment “would have no meaningful effect on the Earth’s temperature.” Previous academic studies have shown that fossil-fuel divestment can significantly harm an investment portfolio as divested funds tend to have higher management fees. The divestment movement hasn’t made a discernible impact on the companies it targets.

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