US state legislatures are emerging as the new battleground for fossil fuel divestment, in a trend that has pleased few.
Over the past year, Democrats in New York State, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine and Massachusetts have sought to direct asset owners that run public money to begin identifying and exiting investments in oil and gas.
Lawmakers have argued that the proposed interventions are about safeguarding investment returns, rather than being politically motivated.
New York State Senator Liz Krueger, who is sponsoring one such bill, said recently that divesting from oil, gas and coal producers is crucial to prevent a “rapid loss of value”, noting that the valuation of state pension investments in fossil fuels had already dropped by $22bn since 2008. In neighbouring New Jersey, a similar bill includes a clause allowing the state to reinvest in fossil fuel companies in a scenario where state pension funds lose out on returns as a result o…