New York State Senator Liz Krueger has introduced a fossil fuel divestment bill that would require immediate divestment of New York’s $170 billion state pension fund from coal, and divestment from oil and gas by 2022. Divestment, and prohibition of reinvestment, applies to the “two hundred largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies, as established by carbon content in the companies’ proven oil, gas, and coal reserves.” The Comptroller is permitted to cease divestment or even pursue reinvestment in fossil fuel companies if the Fund loses one-half of one percent of its value as a result of divestment.
The Fossil Fuels Divestment Act, which already has 32 co-sponsors, was simultaneously introduced in the New York State Assembly. Said Senator Krueger, “Divestment is financially prudent, morally imperative, responsible policymaking, and the time for action is now.”
According to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, at least $5 billion is invested in various fossil fuel companies, including $1 billion in Exxon. Exxon is presently under investigation by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for its role in funding climate deniers even though its own scientists were warning the company about the reality of global warming. Comptroller DiNapoli, the sole trustee of the huge pension fund, has stated a preference for engagement with fossil fuel companies over divestment, despite that fact that engagement has never had any tangible results.
The Fossil Fuels Divestment Act, a version of which was carried by Senator Krueger in 2015, will be heard in the Civil Service and Pensions Committee and the Assembly Government Employees committee.
#DivestNY is sponsoring several actions during Global Divestment week, and has an ongoing petition campaign to divest all six New York State and City pension funds, total value $350 billion.