Dec 9, 2020 - Energy & Environment

New York's $226 billion public pension plan may divest from oil and gas companies

Illustration of a gas pump with the hose forming a descending stock trend line.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New York's $226 billion pension fund has set a 2040 goal to neutralize its carbon emissions and may divest from oil and gas companies in order to achieve it, the state's comptroller announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: The proposal, from America's third-largest public pension fund, is one of the more significant moves in the divestment battle that's been building over the last several years.

Yes, but: The fund has left a lot of wiggle room and time will tell just how many oil and gas companies it actually divests from.

How it works: The fund isn't committing to divesting all its oil and gas stocks, which activists have pushed for.

  • Instead, it's increasing pressure on companies to disclose — or create — plans for how they will profit in a climate-constrained world by threatening to otherwise sell by 2025.
  • The fund is "committing to sell its investments in any oil, gas, oil-services and pipeline companies that do not have clear plans to abandon the fossil fuel business. Few companies have disclosed such plans," the New York Times writes.

Flashback: New York comptroller on Exxon, divestment and climate change

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