New York City will invest several billion dollars into environmentally friendly ventures, a move city officials regard as a necessary step in the fight against climate change, but something critics say is politicization of retirees’ savings.
Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that New York City’s pension funds will invest $4 billion in renewable energy, clean water and other climate change measures over the next three years. The number is more than double the city’s current stake in green investments.
“We believe the market will respond, leading to greater access and lower cost for green technologies that will help us build a cleaner, safer and fairer city,” de Blasio said in a statement, according to The Wall Street Journal. The mayor has worked for months on how to transition the city’s pensions away from fossil fuels in favor of green energy.
Also leading the charge is New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, a Democrat in charge of the city’s more than $195 billion pension fund.
“Today we’re showing that New York City will continue to lead the way in investing in sustainable investments that offer strong returns for New York City beneficiaries,” Stringer stated.
The news comes just days after Bill de Blasio published a joint op-ed with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a left-wing politician who has also championed green energy causes. The two mayors announced their cities would be taking steps to completely eradicate fossil fuels from their pension funds, a move largely referred to as “divestment,” and called on other major cities to follow their lead. (RELATED: Bill De Blasio Teams Up With London Mayor Sadiq Khan To Go After Big Oil)
However, there has been pushback from critics who argue such measures are a politicization of retired workers’ savings. Pension fund managers, they claim, should solely focus on what would be in the best interest of the stakeholders. The injection of one’s political views — such as their stance on climate change — could make retiree investments vulnerable.
“Pushing for this divestment goes against the fiduciary responsibility of the pension fund managers and puts the retirement funds, that millions of New Yorkers and Londoners rely on, at risk for reduced returns,” Christopher Burnham, the president of Pension Fund Integrity, said in a statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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