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New York to divest massive pension fund from fossil fuels

Environmental activists won an incredible victory this week after the state of New York announced it will divest its $226 billion pension fund from fossil fuels.

New York state has the third-largest pension fund in the US, with more than $12 billion having been invested in fossil fuels. In fact, $1 billion has been invested in Exxon Mobil alone.

Fortunately, that is set to change after an eight-year fight to get New York to divest finally came to a close on Wednesday when New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced the state will take a systematic approach to pull investments from the “riskiest” oil and gas companies by 2025. On top of that, New York will completely decarbonize its portfolio by 2040 and will evaluate every company in its portfolio to see if they’re aligned with a habitable future.

“We’ll look back on this as a big moment in the story of the fossil fuel divestment movement,” said Richard Brooks, a campaign coordinator with 350, a climate organization that’s helped pioneer the divestment movement.

This isn’t the first major divest announcement we’ve heard out of New York in 2020. Earlier this summer, the state announced it would divest its pension fund from 22 coal companies valued at $90 million. With New York making the move to divest entirely from fossil fuels, we hope it will set a new standard for other states to follow.

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