CPR_ New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for his state’s biggest government pension fund to stop new investments in fossil-fuel companies and phase out existing investments is likely to lead to renewed calls for the Golden State’s two massive pension funds – the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System – to do the same.
The Common Fund – New York’s pension fund for state and local public sector employees – has $200 billion in holdings. Cuomo, a Democrat who is expected to run for president in 2020, said it was time to craft a “de-carbonization roadmap” for the fund, which “remains heavily invested in the energy economy of the past.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stinger agreed with Cuomo and called for changes in the investment policies of the city’s five pension funds, with holdings of about $190 billion.
The announcements were hailed on social media as a reflection of the mission statement of the 2015 Paris Accord outlining international efforts to address global warming.
It’s possible Brown could use his State of the State speech later this month to reveal his call for CalPERS and CalSTRS climate-change divestment. The pension giants have already been forced to end investments in coal companies because of a 2015 law signed by the governor, selling off shares worth less than $250 million, a tiny fraction of their overall portfolios.
But selling off stakes in energy companies would be a much more impactful event. Giant firms like ExxonMobil are among the most common holdings of pension funds around the world. Some unions worry divestment will hurt CalPERS finances