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New York pension funds double investment in climate change solutions to $4bn by 2021

Announcement from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer

New York City’s pension funds will double their investment in climate change solutions to $4bn by 2021, the city’s Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer announced yesterday, as they look to “lead the way” on sustainable investing.

The commitment, which will see 2% of the city’s $175bn pension portfolio dedicated to tackling climate change, will include investments across all asset classes in climate-change solutions like renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“The future is with big ideas in clean technology, not with big polluters,” said Stringer, who as Comptroller act as custodian of the city’s pension funds. “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. By pledging to double our holdings in climate solutions we’re becoming an important part of that solution.”

“We’re taking a stand for generations to come with our goal to double our pension investments in job-creating climate solutions” added Mayor de Blasio.

Stringer, who has led high-profile efforts to decarbonise New York’s public retirement system’s assets, announced earlier this year that the city would divest its pension funds from fossil fuels within five years. His office is currently seeking advice from the market on how to do this.New York’s five pension funds are comprised of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS), the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS), the New York City Police Pension Fund (POLICE), the New York City Fire Pension Fund (Fire), and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS).

“The future is with big ideas in clean technology, not with big polluters”

Earlier this week, Blasio and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, writing in The Guardian, called upon other city pension funds to follow their lead and divest fossil fuels.

Khan and De Blasio are also co-chairing the first ever Divest/Invest Cities Forum – a global network for sharing knowledge on and advocating divestment and green investment.

Elsewhere, a new report by non-profit 50/50 Climate Project has found that the 13 largest asset managers are failing to hold carbon-intensive companies to account on climate change, despite increasing shareholder pressure for them to do so. It found that US giants BlackRock and Vanguard supported only 23% and 33%, respectively, of climate proposals related to addressing climate change.