Ahead of 2018 and his state-of-the-state speech New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called on the state’s retirement fund, Common Fund, to end investing in fossil fuel companies to de-carbonize the more than $200 billion fund’s portfolio. The new proposal from the Governor would instead direct the fund to invest in opportunities to combat climate change and support the clean tech economy, like wind, solar, and energy storage.
"New York has made incredible strides in securing a clean energy future for this state…yet the Common Fund remains heavily invested in the energy economy of the past. Moving the Common Fund away from fossil fuel investments will protect the retirement savings of New Yorkers," Cuomo said. "This proposal lays out a roadmap for New York's $200 billion Common Fund to take responsible steps to divest from its fossil fuel holdings, leading to a more secure retirement fund for countless New Yorkers while also helping to achieve the state's clean energy goals."
In Cuomo’s ninth proposal for the state of the state he proposed working with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli to create an advisory committee to develop a de-carbonization roadmap for the retirement fund and to directly invest in clean energy. The fund has to do this while minimizing risk for the more than 1 million New Yorkers it serves across the state. As the demand for renewable energy increases while demand for fossil fuel-based energy goes down, renewable energy is increasingly seen as a better investment opportunity than fossil fuels.
In 2017 the fund held interests in more than 50 of the oil and gas companies among the 100 most carbon intensive in the world, including more than $1 billion in ExxonMobile alone. Moreover, that figure was higher than it was in 2016, according to the Cuomo’s office.
Cuomo’s latest announcement builds on previous work to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. Among other efforts were increasing the state’s renewable energy portfolio to 50 percent of the state’s energy needs by 2030. The office said those efforts have created thousands of jobs and driven explosive growth in solar power across the state.
He’s also taken other actions like co-founding the United States Climate Alliance, under which states and local governments have committed to meet emissions goals set in the Paris climate accords.Tweet