New York to Confirm Landmark Fossil Fuel Divestment Plan

World | Sustainable Development

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

New York City is to divest its pension funds of fossil fuels assets, in a move that could see the city authorities offload up to $5bn of fossil fuel-related investments.

Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer are expected to officially announce heavily trailled plans later today, detailing how they expect to deliver the largest divestment by a US municipality.

“Safeguarding the retirement of our city’s police officers, teachers and firefighters is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet,” Stringer told the New York Times.

The new policy would cover five pension funds worth around $189bn.

The decision came as fossil fuel companies also came under fire in Portland, Oregon. The Court of Appeals ruled the city could ban major fuel terminal expansions within the city limits, jeopardising plans by Canadian fossil fuel transport company, Pembina Pipeline Corp.

The latest divestment pledge represents another victory for a global campaign that has seen a host of business, public sector bodies, and universities commit to reducing their exposure to fossil fuel investments.

Divestment campaigners maintain that ditching fossil fuel investments makes financial as well as environmental sense, as tougher climate change regulations and emerging clean technologies raise the prospect of fossil fuel demand peaking and leaving high carbon assets stranded.

However, the move by New York City comes on the same day as the Trump administration again underlined its commitment to stepping up fossil fuel production.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters this week that his priorities for 2018 were replacing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, rewriting water protection rules, and staging a public debate on climate change – moves that have already been widely condemned by green businesses and campaigners.