With AG Suing Exxon for Climate Fraud, Time for NY State Pension to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Mark Dunlea, the Green Party candidate for NY State Comptroller, said today that the lawsuit by the NYS Attorney General against Exxon for fraud about climate change underscores the need for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies.
“DiNapoli argues that holding nearly a billion dollars of Exxon’s stock enables his voice to be heard. Since the Attorney General’s investigation concluded that Exxon has been defrauding investors for decades, perhaps what they heard from Tom was that they had him hoodwinked,” noted Dunlea.
For the last five years, climate activists have called for institutions to divest from fossil fuels since it is morally wrong to knowingly profit from the destruction of the planet. More than 1,000 institutions with more than $7 trillion in assets have agreed to divest.
It is increasingly clear that continuing to invest in fossil fuels is a bad financial decision as the world has agreed to end the use of fossil fuels. Tom Sanzillo, the Acting State Comptroller before the Legislature appointed DiNapoli to replace Hevesi, recently co-authored a study calling for divestment since fossil fuels has been the worst performing sector of the stock market in recent years.
A recent study by Corporate Knights found that NY would have an extra $22 billion if the state pension funds had divested from fossil fuels a decade ago.
The AG’s lawsuit represents a new and growing threat to the fossil fuel industry—fossil fuel litigation, which will likely hurt fossil fuel investments still further. NYC is suing over damages from Hurricane Sandy. Until the pension fund divests, our state is in the odd position of investing in the same business it is suing for fraud. This defies logic and is an absurd investment strategy.
DiNapoli says the state pension fund has about $6 billion invested in fossil fuels. 350.org has estimated the number as closer to $11 billion.